This is an extract from the Government’s response to its consultation on the National Data Strategy:

Since the publication of the National Data Strategy in September 2020, we have already taken action across the five missions.

Mission One: Unlocking the value of data held across the economy

1. Established the non-statutory Digital Markets Unit, laying the foundations for the future pro-competition regime for digital markets
2. Conducted research into how government can increase access to data held across the economy that will guide our approach to prioritising interventions to promote data availability, supporting innovation and growth.
3. Agreed a programme of work with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to explore how Privacy Enhancing Technologies can remove barriers to data sharing by managing more effectively the risks associated with sharing commercially-sensitive and personal data.
4. Agreed a programme of work with the Open Data Institute that includes building data literacy across the economy; bringing about new data institutions and improving the practices of existing ones; and developing open and trustworthy data ecosystems that support innovation.
5. Published an in-depth analysis of the geospatial data market highlighting significant economic opportunities for this part of the data economy, and informing six new actions to enhance the UK’s geospatial data ecosystem.
6. Held a series of workshops exploring how intermediaries stewarding data between those sharing and accessing it could enable new ways of sharing data safely and efficiently, and what government could do to enable this activity.

Mission Two: Securing a pro-growth and trusted data regime

1. Launched the recruitment for a new Information Commissioner who will be empowered to ensure people can use data to achieve economic and social goals, as well as maintaining their focus on privacy.
2. Agreed a programme of work with the Open Data Institute to improve data sharing by helping organisations assess, build and demonstrate both trust in and the trustworthiness of data and data practices.

Mission Three: Transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services

1. Appointed the Chair and Executive Director for and created a new Central Digital and Data Office to drive forward Digital, Data and Technology transformation across government.
2. The ONS’s Government Data Quality Hub has published the Government Data Quality Framework, which provides the public sector with a more structured approach to improving the quality of its data.
3. By the end of last year, the newly established Data Standards Authority had published:

• metadata standards and related guidance

• guidance to improve how data is assessed in the government technology spend controls process

• guidance for use of application programming interfaces (APIs) in data sharing.

4. Initiated work to deliver the new Integrated Data Programme (IDP), led by ONS as lead delivery partner. User research is underway and a secure Cloud-native architecture is being trialled, which will form the backbone of the underlying technology. The programme will support data sharing in government through a secure platform to provide high quality data services and tools, such as the Reference Data Management Framework (RDMF), to enable up-to-date evidence and collaborative analysis to support improved policy development and public service delivery.
5. Held the first working meetings between government and civil society to begin developing proposals for the National Action Plan for Open Government 2021-23.
6. The ONS’s Data Science Campus has already exceeded the National Data Strategy target of training 500 public sector workers to use Data Science skills. In 2021, the Campus is scaling up existing training and continuing to develop new options to further improve data literacy and data science skills across the public sector.

Mission Four: Ensuring the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data relies

1. The National Security and Investment Act recently received Royal Assent, strengthening the government’s powers to scrutinise and intervene in transactions to protect national security, while providing businesses with certainty and transparency. The new National Security and Investment Act provides powers for a mandatory notification regime, and the government has proposed data infrastructure as one of the sectors in scope of mandatory notification.

Mission Five: Championing the international flow of data

1. Secured positive draft adequacy decisions from the European Commission, which recognise the UK’s high data protection standards and will, once adopted, enable the continued unrestricted transfer of personal data from the EU to the UK.
2. Agreed data flow provisions in trade agreements with the EU and Japan that avoid unjustified restrictions on the free flow of data between the UK and Japan and thereby address barriers to digital trade.
3. Secured reciprocal free flows of personal data with all non-EU countries that the UK recognises as adequate, including Japan, Canada, Israel, and the Crown Dependencies.
4. Published a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on how we will work together when conducting UK adequacy assessments.
5. Under the UK Presidency this year, the G7 Digital & Technology Ministers signed off an ambitious Ministerial Declaration and four annexes which demonstrates UK leadership across the data, digital and technology agenda and seals. This includes a commitment from international leaders to work together to realise the opportunities the free flow of data with trust can drive for our citizens, our businesses and our economies globally.

Further detail on the actions we will take to implement the National Data Strategy are set out in the body of the document, but in direct response to consultation response feedback, we will:

  1. Adopt a phased approach to future publications, sharing more frequent, focused updates against and across the Missions, to ensure we remain as open and collaborative in our approach as possible.
  2. Launch the National Data Strategy Forum to outline our commitment to ongoing stakeholder dialogue and ensuring diverse perspectives beyond government and the public sector inform the implementation of the National Data Strategy. The forum will be chaired by the DCMS Minister for Media and Data.
  3. Lead by example, furthering our efforts to build trust in government’s own use of data which may include:• engagement on methods used to increase transparency of algorithmic-assisted decision making in the public sector

    • monitoring the use of the Data Ethics Framework in central government

    • scoping data ethics as a role in the Digital, Data and Technology Capability Framework

    • working with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation and the newly formed cross-Whitehall Public Attitudes to Data & AI Network to build public support for data use, including the sharing of real-world examples, from the COVID-19 response and more broadly, where responsible data use has played a critical role in delivering economic and societal benefit

  4. Maintain momentum across wider priority areas through key leadership appointments and international activity, which will include:• confirming a new Information Commissioner

    • announcing a new Board and Chair for the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

    • announcing our priority countries for UK data adequacy agreements

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