It has been one year since the creation of the National Data Strategy Forum, and we are pausing to reflect on its achievements; as well as sharing some insights from our latest event – the NDS Forum webinar on Public Attitudes to Data and AI.
What is the NDS Forum?
The Forum is a collaborative network co-chaired by DCMS and Sue Daley, Director of Tech and Innovation at techUK.
It is open for anyone to participate, and exists to ensure that a diverse range of perspectives beyond government and the public sector continue to inform the implementation of the National Data Strategy.
Forum co-chair Sue Daley reflects:
‘The National Data Strategy Forum has been central in bringing together and engaging the UK’s data community through workshops, webinars, and panel events. It has provided a way for data leaders to offer input, share experiences, best practice, and raise questions and concerns on key issues that are vital to ensuring we deliver a data strategy that supports innovation, builds trust and works for everyone, everywhere.’
What has the NDS Forum achieved so far?
Following the Forum’s first discussion in the summer 2021, in collaboration with Forum participants we identified five key workstreams to structure its activity.
Some key successes and highlights of each workstream include:
- Unlocking the power of data for everyone, everywhere: participants helped to facilitate events to showcase the value of data in local areas. Bright Data and Experian hosted regional events highlighting innovative uses of data; and in September PwC held a workshop exploring the role of data sharing in delivering a future vision for connected places. We also hosted a Forum webinar on the NDS Mission 1 Policy Framework.
- Data reform: The NDS Forum organised over 40 stakeholder events as part of the Data: a new Direction consultation – which enabled a range of different perspectives to contribute to the development of proposals to reform the UK’s data protection laws.
- Trust in data: the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) convened the National Data Strategy Forum Trust in Data Working group as part of their public engagement. The group discussed some examples of the value of data, including the work of Police Scotland to develop a governance framework addressing the ethical challenges posed by data-driven technology, The Municipality of Amsterdam’s smart digital crowd management, and Barking and Dagenham’s debt relief pilot. The CDEI has published the Public Attitudes to Data and AI tracker survey, a tool to monitor attitudes towards data and AI.
- Net zero: the NDS Forum has explored how to work together to harness the power of data to help achieve net zero. The Minister for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, alongside techUK, hosted a discussion with data centre providers, and the Royal Society facilitated a workshop to showcase best practice initiatives where data is being used to drive net zero.
- Measuring the data ecosystem: Policy Connect helped DCMS convene a roundtable of stakeholders to feed into the DCMS call for evidence on the Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the NDS and the development of the NDS Indicator Suite.
Insights from our latest NDS Forum Webinar: Public attitudes to data and AI
Public trust is crucial to unlocking the potential benefits of better data use; without it, organisations will lack confidence to invest in innovative data-driven technologies and the public will not opt-in or adopt them. That’s why it is so important to understand public attitudes to data.
In November we ran a webinar discussing the latest insights from CDEI’s Public attitudes to data and AI: Tracker survey (Wave 2), which is the first survey in the world to track how attitudes towards data and AI vary over time.
CDEI’s Deputy Director Louise Sheridan and Head of Public Attitudes Hannah Spiro shared some key findings from the latest wave of the survey. We heard, for example, that the economy and health are seen as both the priority issues facing the UK, and the areas with greatest opportunity for data use.
We welcomed Sue Bateman, Chief Data Officer, Central Digital & Data Office (CDDO) and Aidan Peppin, Senior Researcher, Ada Lovelace Institute, to join a panel discussion exploring the findings and reflecting on what more the public and private organisations can do to build trust in responsible data use.
We heard from Sue about the UK’s national standard for reporting the use of algorithmic tools in the public sector – the CDDO’s Algorithmic Transparency Standard. And Aidan shared insights from ‘Who cares what the public think?’; Ada Lovelace Institute’s paper setting out the body of evidence on UK public attitudes to regulating data and data-driven technologies.
For news on upcoming NDS Forum events and other updates on the National Data Strategy, please visit the NDS Forum gov.uk page and sign up to the NDS Newsletter for updates on the National Data Strategy. You can get in touch with us at: NDSForumsecretariat@dcms.gov.uk
To sign up for updates about future waves for the CDEI’s Public Attitudes to Data and AI survey, click here.