Data is a cross cutting policy area – the delivery of policies and initiatives associated with maximising the power of data will have implications for organisations and individuals across the UK. With the launch of the UK National Data Strategy (NDS) in September 2020, we have been working hard to implement each of the missions set out within the strategy. As part of this, it has been (and continues to be) crucial that we work closely with each of the devolved governments to deliver the NDS, alongside their own strategies and plans, and through that achieve the best possible outcomes for the public.
NDS Devolved Administrations Advisory Forum
To facilitate this in practice, officials from the UK Government established the NDS Devolved Administrations (DA) Advisory Forum. Over the last 12 months, the DA Forum has been an integral part of the NDS implementation programme, bringing together insights and ideas from officials across the UK, streamlining communications, and creating a space for multiple conversations on Data Policy to come together. (We also run the NDS Forum – distinct from the NDS DA Advisory Forum – and we encourage stakeholders based across the UK to participate. Go to the NDS Forum page for how to get involved.)
The NDS DA Advisory forum functions solely as an advisory body and provides the opportunity for each nation to update the others on the implementation of their respective data strategies and to share insights and good practice on data policy. A wide range of officials have presented and contributed to Forum meetings, such as colleagues working on delivery of each of the NDS’ five missions, officials from a range of teams within each of the DAs and colleagues from other UK Government departments such as the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy
One year anniversary
This month marks the one year anniversary of the NDS DA Advisory Forum. To celebrate this milestone, we have been reflecting on the last year and would like to share a few of our personal highlights from the forum, as well as highlights from officials from the Northern Ireland Civil Service, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.
- Monitoring and Evaluation is something that is consistently challenging across organisations, and it is no exception for the UK National Data Strategy. This challenging nature made it the perfect subject matter for us to share at the Forum, exploring knowledge and best practice. The framework is focussed on tracking the NDS actions and missions, and establishing and maintaining a series of evaluation principles. It has been fantastic to share progress on this work with the forum attendees, and to hear thoughts and suggestions from the group. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the NDS principles and missions across the UK and it has been invaluable to have productive discussions with the devolved administrations about reactions and progress across the UK.
- The NDS DA Advisory forum has been a fantastic space to share our plans for delivering Mission 2 of the National Data Strategy (to secure a pro-growth and trusted data regime). Through the DA Forum, we have been able to hear views from each of the devolved administrations and organise a series of roundtable discussions ensuring that we collated views from across the UK as part of the consultation process.
- “We are not all starting from the same place and there is a lot to be learned from the shared experience of different structures and contexts. The forum has provided a useful space for considering the pros and cons of different approaches and the common ground that exists across members. Information, knowledge and oversight of experiences gained through the Forum have helped inform the development of an NICS Digital and Data Strategy and we look forward to continued engagement with colleagues across the DAs and UK government.” (Northern Ireland Civil Service officials)
- “Through the NDS Advisory Forum, teams working on data policy across Devolved and UK Governments have been able to keep each other informed and identify areas where we can work together, aligned to our strategic goals.” (Scottish Government officials)
- “The NDS Advisory Forum is a good example of cross-UK engagement. It allows us to keep abreast of the work being taken forward by the UK Government on the national data strategy, to consider how it relates to the data mission of our own Digital Strategy for Wales and to identify areas where we can work together.” (Welsh Government officials)
The next DA Forum is due to take place this month and we look forward to future collaborations and discussions between the four nations. We are excited to continue to work together through the DA Forum and to deliver the National Data Strategy for the whole of the UK.