Unlocking the Value of Public Sector Data for Public Benefit: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the independent expert group.


The purpose of this programme is to aid decision-making by data controllers regarding the release of, or provision of access to, public sector personal data by the private sector, for public benefit. 

There is significant potential to create public benefit from the use of public sector personal data by, or with, the private sector. In assessing how to unlock this public benefit (social and economic), we are responding to substantive feedback from stakeholders, who identified a case for action. This work will be shaped by an ongoing programme of public engagement and public consultation.

IEG remit

The Independent Expert Group (IEG) will provide strategic guidance and oversight to inform the design of the work, progress of the respective work streams, and tasks of the working group. 


The IEG, through the Chair, will report to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, in providing regular progress updates, and in delivering final recommendations against the purpose set out above.

Group secretariat

Scottish Government officials will provide Secretariat support to the Group. While the secretariat is employed by the Scottish Government, in carrying out functions and support for the Group, the Secretariat will act independently of the Scottish Government, answerable only to the Chair and Members of the Group.

The Secretariat will support the Chair, as required, and facilitate Group meetings, provide a secure file-sharing platform for members, facilitate a Call for Evidence, if required by the Group, and other general secretariat functions.

Core membership of IEG

Chair: Angela Daly

The core membership of the group is:


  • Angela Daly, University of Dundee (Chair)
  • Lucille Brown (Chair Policy Support Officer)
  • Annie Sorbie, University of Edinburgh
  • Ruchir Shah, Open Government and Civil Society Activist
  • Esperanza Miyake, University of Strathclyde
  • James Stevenson, Duo Verre Partnership LLP
  • Colin Birchenall, Digital Office , Scottish Local Government 
  • Charlie Mayor, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde 
  • Mahlet Zimeta (‘Milly’), The Open Data Institute

Awaiting confirmation:          

  • Jatin Haria, Executive Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights 

To ensure the group is able to operate effectively and timeously, members are asked to only delegate attendance at meetings to others where their deputies are empowered to make decisions on behalf of the member.


Group members will ensure their organisations work with SG colleagues to deliver consistent and coordinated messaging around the Group's work and support effective public and sectoral engagement. The Secretariat will facilitate publication of relevant information on www.gov.scot, including terms of reference, group membership and minutes from meetings. 

Annex - workstreams 

Working phase - stage 1 (March – December 2022)

Policy outputs/overarching aims

i. Develop a high-level Scottish Government policy position. A landscaping exercise of our stakeholders revealed that a high-level policy position would be helpful in guiding decision-making around the release of, or provision of access to, public sector personal data for use with or by the private sector.

ii. Development of a Framework(s). This landscaping exercise also identified the absence of a framework or guidance for decision-making in this area. This can result in a reluctance to make the decision to release public sector data for use with or by the private sector.

Informing the overarching aims

Public engagement 

i. Develop and run a public consultation to inform the design and development of the work.

ii. Develop a programme of ongoing public engagement. 

We need to understand what people feel comfortable with in terms of public sector data use with or by the private sector and what we need to put in place to enable this. This will also require us to understand how people view public benefit and the extent to which they support private sector use of public data.

Analysis/policy development

i. Appraise the three procured literature reviews and use findings to inform the design of the programme’s workstreams

ii. Consider/plan further research 

iii. Design use cases to inform work

iv. Plan approach to International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) Conference – November 2022 Edinburgh

v. Stakeholder workshop/academic event - business/academia/public sector/third sector/separate policy academic

Steering role

i. Oversee the tasks of the Working Group

ii. Feedback to Ministers for approval of Stage 2

Transition phase - stage 2 (January 2023 – April 2023)

  • bring together the outputs from Stage 1, in order to plan the operationalisation/implementation phase and decide how it will be assessed in terms of its success and further use
  • submit feedback to Ministers for approval of operationalisation phase

Operationalisation Phase - Stage 3 (April 2023 – April 2024)

  • implement the high-level policy statement and Framework and assess their success. Plan how to use them going forward from here
  • submit feedback to Ministers
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