DCMS blog

Update on the development of the National Data Strategy indicator suite

Avatar photo



In September 2020, the National Data Strategy set out the government’s ambition to unlock the power of data. 

Taking advantage of the data opportunity is a key challenge for the UK, as it impacts across all of our lives in so many ways and has the potential to make a real difference. Government can not succeed in tackling this challenge alone, and so we have been working with partners from across the economy and society to bring our vision to life. 

One of the ways in which we have done this recently was through our recent call for evidence to develop an indicator suite that can help us track the UK’s data ecosystem.

Call for evidence

We initially launched the call for evidence in September 2021 as part of the strategy’s anniversary update. In that update, we set out the challenge that we faced in measuring something as complex as data, in the context of an incomplete evidence base.

We also shared a shortlist of potential indicators and research summaries as a starting proposition for some measures and areas that the indicator suite could expand into, based on the National Data Strategy pillars of effective data use and opportunities. 

A graphic that says "Data opportunities and drivers: boost trade; boost productivity; fuel business and job creation; the next scientific breakthrough; revolutionise the public sector; create a fairer society.Pillars of effective use: foundations; skills; availability; responsible use.""

The call asked for stakeholders to share their thoughts on this starting proposition, and metrics which existed or could be developed to feed into the indicator suite.

Analysing the results

We have had a number of fascinating and informative conversations with stakeholders from across the data ecosystem. Thank you to everyone who has been part of this process – your feedback has been invaluable in shaping and testing our ideas.

Our overarching conclusions are that:

  • There are a number of areas where we could develop research that may lead to indicators; we have received promising suggestions that will require further work, but may yield results in the future.
  • This is a challenging development process, and there are no easy answers. There appear to be more avenues to explore for developing metrics against the pillars of effective data use on the whole, whereas the metrics for the opportunities could be comparatively more challenging.

Next steps

We are continuing to analyse the research avenues proposed for filling out the indicator suite. This could take some time, as we work through the detail and pursue novel propositions. 

We will keep you informed on how we are developing this research through regular publications on our qualitative and quantitative research. These will set out, for each part of the indicator suite:

  • The latest data from the quantitative indicators that we are confident in reporting against
  • Qualitative analysis and evidence that can build a broader picture around the indicator in question
  • Reflections on research to develop further indicators, and areas we are interested in exploring now or in the future

We’re keen to maintain an open dialogue with all of our partners across the data ecosystem as it continues to develop and our work progresses. 

If you’d like to share your feedback on the above, please do get in touch with the National Data Strategy team

Share this