Online engagement event: Reflections of being Webinar host
Guest blog by Carol Sinclair, Strategic Data Adviser for the Scottish Government and Independent Chair of the Health and Social Care Data Board.
Determining the best point in time to bring in wider views on any draft document is a bit of a lottery with it highly unlikely you will satisfy the spectrum of views as to when that ideally should be.
Earlier in 2022, an Independent Expert Group (IEG) commissioned by Scottish Government was asked to develop a policy statement and supporting principles as part of a longer term commitment to supporting the unlocking of the value of public personal data. It was decided very early on that seeking wider expert and civic or public opinion was going to pivotal and fundamental to this work.
On that premise, a public webinar was held on September 1st 2022 with the aim being to draw in as many ideas and responses as possible on the initial phase of the work of the IEG in developing a small number of draft principles. Prof Angela Daly chair of the IEG asked me to be the independent chair for the session to enable full participation of the IEG members in discussions with participants.
The lightning talks from four of the members were well-presented and everybody kept to time – thankfully – and they nicely set the scene and tone for the session.
MS Teams gave me a few challenges as chair in terms of making sure the conversation was also drawing in chat from the ‘side bar’! However, we had around 70 people join us that day and the feedback has been very positive with many commenting on how much they had enjoyed the discussion and having an opportunity to comment on the early draft principles.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t stick to moving through the principles in order of 1-9 but some keys reflections offered were that ‘less is more’ and that public engagement and involvement must rank as number one in the list.
Members of the IEG helpfully provided prompts where needed to emphasise the early stage of this work and that none of the principles nor their wording were’ definitive’ nor set in stone. Another reflection from those on the session was the importance of use of clear language with shared definitions set out and understood for each principle.
This will in my view not be the last of such events as the IEG will gain even deeper value from continuing such dialogue events through the rest of this year.