Red hard hat

The Open Data Institute (ODI) has commissioned user experience and data management specialists to produce a prototype tool that will provide early stage guidance to organisations about risk assessments and mitigations before sharing data.

Could the right guidance about risk-mitigation improve data sharing?

When considering sharing data – whether on a 1:1 basis, with a group, or more widely – a common concern for organisations is to understand the potential risks and harms in sharing data such as legal compliance, impacts on reputation, competitive advantage or causing harm to anyone impacted by using the data. Assessing risks early, before the legal team gets involved (if needed), can save organisations the time and money associated with later stage challenges.

Without early risk assessment organisations are unable to reassure themselves they have mitigated legitimate concerns, which can result in reluctance to share data. Not making data as widely available as it might be has its own risks. For example restricting mutually beneficial collaboration; limiting value creation in the form of innovation, new products and services; as well as the benefits to data reusers.

The ODI is looking into the role of data assurance in improving data sharing more generally by helping organisations assess, build and demonstrate both trust in data practices and the trustworthiness of data for different purposes. Other organisations have produced helpful guidance in many forms for various contexts.

How might we bring together guidance and present it in a form that helps organisations practically assess and mitigate the risks around datasets; open up conversations internally and externally; improve processes and confidence in processes; and strengthen relationships?

Prototyping an online tool

To get deep into those challenges, the ODI has commissioned user experience and data management specialists Grandad Digital and Howard Askew to review existing user research, guidance and tools, and develop a prototype risk assessment tool. The tool will not be a ‘permission slip to publish’ but rather a prompt for inquiry and dialogue. Once developed, it will be used in further exploration of risk assessment and assurance processes with organisations.

Developing guidance

To help organisations identify, assess and manage risks related to sharing data that they hold, we’ve created a guide for assessing risks when sharing data.

This guide seeks to provide early steps to consider real and perceived risks in sharing data to identify suitable mitigating actions. We include typical risk categories, key questions to consider and suggestions on how to minimise harm. The prototype tool will guide users through the early stage considerations and mitigating actions outlined in this guide.

Get involved

We’re looking for people to test the guidance and the tool to make sure it delivers the change we think it could.

If you’re involved in an organisation that thinks it could share data more widely, but is concerned about the implications of data sharing, we'd love to hear from you. To receive a preview of the prototype and to help shape the tool, please fill out the contact form below.

For any other enquiries, please contact [email protected].