Independent Expert Group delivers Unlocking the Value of Data report
Guest blog by Angela Daly, outgoing chair of the Independent Expert Group on Unlocking the Value of Data.
I write this blog post at the end of the week in which the Independent Expert Group (IEG) on Unlocking the Value of Data (UVOD) delivered our final report to the Scottish Government. The IEG has been in existence for just over a year, and comprises a multi-stakeholder group of experts from different domains and disciplines united by our interest in public sector personal data and how it can be accessed by the private sector.
The IEG has functioned through a series of monthly meetings, supplemented by a public webinar in September 2022, and public engagement work in late 2022 to early 2023 carried out by the Democratic Society. We have also benefitted from insights from the Practitioner Forum, a group of Scottish public sector stakeholders which manage personal data. Furthermore, the Scottish Government commissioned three literature reviews conducted by academic researchers on topics relevant to the IEG. All these inputs have informed our final report. We have also drawn from our own experiences and expertise in the public sector, private sector, third sector and (in my case) academia.
Our final report comprises the consensus of the IEG, something I personally sought to bring to the work. I thought this was important to ensure both the independence and the credibility of our findings, even if my personal views on some issues diverge a little from some aspects of the report. However, in seeking and achieving consensus, we have endeavoured to produce a unified, practical and implementable report.
The final report contains a suggested policy statement, an updated version of the principles which we first publicised in August 2022, and a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government to improve the current situation for private sector access to public sector personal data in Scotland, in line with the highest legal, ethical and best practice standards in Scotland and internationally.
We hope that the Scottish Government will implement our suggestions, so that if public sector personal data is used by the private sector, it is done in ways which are in the public interest, produce public benefit and create social, economic and environmental value for people in Scotland.
Personally, it has been an honour to chair and lead this Independent Expert Group. I have learned a lot from other IEG members, the Practitioner Forum, the literature reviews and the general public who participated in the webinar and the public engagement activities. I have also been able to apply my own research in data protection and digital regulation to the IEG’s practical outputs, which is an honour in itself as it is very important for researchers like myself to be able to put our work into practice.
I look forward to the publication of our final report, and the Scottish Government’s response to it in due course. For now, I would like to thank the IEG members for their time and commitment over the IEG’s lifetime, and to the Scottish Government secretariat who supported our work. Thanks as well go to the Practitioner Forum, the researchers who wrote the literature reviews, and members of the public who engaged with our activities.
Additional note – It is anticipated the Independent Expert Group report will be published in June 2023.