Widening the debate on data sharing

With the UK Government’s data sharing consultation published this week, the ODI summarises it to make it more accessible and help widen the debate on data sharing

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The sharing of our personal data is key to building services that benefit ourselves and society. CC BY 2.0, uploaded by opensource.com.

The UK Government has just issued a consultation called “better use of data in government”. It is not about data from across the closed, shared and open data spectrum. It is focussed on data sharing within government.

Data sharing is very important. The sharing of our personal data is key to building services that benefit ourselves and society. We need to improve how we share data so that we have trust in how governments and organisations are using our data.

The Open Data Institute is keen to broaden the debate on data. We want there to be informed conversations about how we use data, how it affects us and how we plan for the future. To help with this we have produced a visualisation of the data spectrum and are working on the data lexicon with language around data that is accurate and useful, but simple enough for everyone to understand.

The UK Government’s data sharing consultation is a long and complex document. Alongside the consultation paper, six distinct draft legislative proposals and impact assessments have also been published.

This level of detail is appropriate for some audiences, but can make it hard for those without a lot of time to digest its contents, or who aren’t that familiar with the terms it uses, to engage in the debate. To help broaden the debate on the consultation we have summarised the government’s consultation document, to try to make it accessible for more people.

This summary does not include the ODI’s thoughts or ideas, rather, it is our summary of the UK Government’s thoughts and ideas. We’ve tried hard to avoid adding our own commentary or writing what we think the government might have been trying to say.

There may be parts of the summary you think must be a mistake. These might be in the original consultation document that was written by government. They may also be our own in how we have summarised a complex section. Do let us know if you spot anything wrong in our version. We will keep making it better.

We will be also writing a response to the government’s consultation and will share it before we submit it.

Join the conversation on data sharing

As you will see in the consultation government used an open policy process to develop its recommendations. We want to develop our response openly and extend the discussion to a wider community whether they collaborate on our response or send in their own. There’s going to be an ODI lunchtime lecture about technology-based approaches to control over our personal data on Friday 11 March, which will be livestreamed and recorded. There will also be an event at ODI Leeds – details coming soon.

We’re not the only ones talking about the data sharing consultation, either. The Royal Statistical Society will be hosting a discussion on Tuesday 17 March at their HQ in London (sign up here). If you’re organising something let us know at [email protected].

Peter Wells is an Associate at the ODI. Follow @peterkwells on Twitter.

If you have ideas or experience in open data that you’d like to share, pitch us a blog or tweet us at @ODIHQ.