DCMS blog

How roundtables are helping inform the National Data Strategy

Sam Roberts


Sam Roberts

Senior Policy Adviser, Data Policy Team

The aim of the National Data Strategy (NDS) is to drive the collective vision that will support the UK to build a world-leading data economy.

In the first phase of work, DCMS commissioned Policy Lab to undertake an evidence review of common statistics used by government and non-government bodies. It found that many commonly quoted statistics about data are not as accurate as we may think, and that further evidence to ground the NDS was needed.

open policymaking session in Ottawa

With this in mind, we’re taking a two-phase consultation approach, prioritising areas that will have the most impact on people’s lives, the services they use and the wider data economy they rely on. The two-phase consultation will be focussed on evidence building, stakeholder engagement and testing the framework of the strategy. In June 2019 we published our call for evidence based on three pillars: People, Economy and Government. Within these pillars we have set out a series of questions that we’re seeking further evidence on.

Alongside this we’re running a series of roundtables structured around the same themes. During this first phase, we’re focusing on engaging with academics, civil society and the public sector, as well as bodies that represent people and smaller businesses. The first of these will be a cross-government roundtable to look at the area of Open Data. This roundtable will provide attendees with a chance to discuss how government derives social, economic, and financial value from its data and where Open Data sits within this framework.

Participatory policymaking

When we set out to develop government policy, it’s important to ensure that a wide range of voices are included in the conversation. To ensure this happens, government is increasingly using participatory policymaking approaches to reach out to underrepresented groups that haven’t historically been in a position to influence government decisions.

Our intention is for the NDS  to be informed by a diverse range of people. We want to hear from individuals, charities, businesses and academics about their vision for the UK’s data landscape. We’re keen to involve experts with specialist knowledge and familiarity with the world of data, as their views will be incredibly valuable in ensuring the decisions being made are well informed.

We also feel it’s extremely important to listen to the concerns and opinions of people who don’t consider themselves experts. As technology evolves and becomes more and more commonplace, the NDS will be something that will touch on all aspects of life in the UK, from obvious cases such as the use of social media and digital services, right through to the way individuals interact with public services, purchase goods, organise their work, and find their way around.

Open for innovation

We want the UK to be the best place in the world for data and digital, a place where innovative and disruptive businesses can come and develop cutting edge products and services with worldwide appeal, but balance is absolutely crucial. The NDS is just as much about talking to people, understanding concerns, and building a plan that reassures and fosters trust as it is about enabling innovation. We want the NDS to be a blueprint for enabling the digital change that the people of the UK want to see.

This is why we’re building our engagement in a way that reaches beyond traditionally interested groups and individuals, and seeks to connect with people from all walks and backgrounds. Several of our events will be taking place outside of London across regions of the UK, to engage and involve as wide and diverse an audience as possible.

Get involved

As the consultation process continues we are interested in hearing from a broad range of organisations across civil society, academics, philanthropic institutions and private businesses who are influenced by data. The consultation process will be running throughout 2019, if you have an interest in the development of the national data strategy you can sign up for further information and updates.

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