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Call for proposals: Data ethics in practice - supporting organisations in their ethical data processes

  • Invitation to tender
  • Tender reference: ODI_DA_05
  • Call for tenders by the Open Data Institute (ODI)
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Deadline for costed proposals: 17:00 GMT, 06/12/2021.

To help people and organisations get the most value out of the ODI’s data ethics offering, we are commissioning resources to help organisations work ethically with data.

This will be supported by the Data Ethics Maturity Model framework. The aim of the resources is to promote discussion of data ethics to key teams and senior leaders. The objective is to provide reassurance to both internal and external stakeholders that ethics is being properly considered in organisations’ data practices.

Areas to focus on could include:

  • Resources to assist in engaging senior stakeholders to promote understanding of the importance of data ethics
  • Data-ethics programme business-case templates
  • Outputs of the Data Ethics Maturity Model benchmarking to support any business case or work designed to embed good data ethics practices
  • Recommendations of key performance indicators (KPIs) within organisations for tracking and reporting on data ethics
  • Demonstrable examples of organisations that can demonstrate good data ethics and the processes to maintain these standards
  • Terms of reference templates for establishing data ethics committees

The importance of ethics in relation to the use, storage and generation in the field of data assurance is becoming an increasingly important aspect of society, both for organisations and individuals. Enabling organisations to assess, build and demonstrate ethical data practices can help to provide assurance and build trust in how data is collected, used and shared.

The ODI has created the Data Ethics Canvas, and associated workshops and training, to support individuals and projects on their use of data and the ethical impact decisions may lead to. As part of this work, we have identified that teams require support to embed data ethics throughout an organisation, to build on the Data Ethics Canvas project-based support. . As part of this work, we have developed a Data Ethics Maturity Model (similar to the Open Data Maturity Model) to allow organisations to assess the maturity of their data ethics practices within their day-to-day operations.

Summary and timeline

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Terms of payment

Payment of 50% the agreed contract price will be made half way through delivery, and 50% on completion.


To create a world where data works for everyone, we need trustworthy data to flow in well-governed ways around the data ecosystem. When organisations are unable to assess the trustworthiness of datasets or the data practices of other organisations, they may be less willing to use or share the data, and then data use becomes restricted.. This can cause others being less willing to share data that they steward and to use data from third parties leading to both duplicated data collection efforts and missed opportunities for the use of data. We believe that organisations can provide assurance that they are trustworthy by assessing, building and demonstrating ethical data practices.

The ODI has previously explored data ethics with the Data Ethics Canvas, a tool that can be used as part of projects or programmes to help consider how to make data ethics a central tenant in these activities.

Since September 2021, we have been developing a Data Ethics Maturity Model which aims to profile the maturity of an organisation's ethical data practices, and to show how that profile could be strengthened.

This model is designed to help organisations assess and benchmark the integration of ethical data practices. We hope this tool will support organisations in moving from considering data ethics on an ad hoc basis, towards data ethics being integrated into the fabric of an organisation.

The main themes of the Data Ethics Maturity Model include:

  • Governance
  • Skills and knowledge
  • Data management
  • Finance
  • Customer requirements
  • Legal considerations

To help organisations to assess, build and demonstrate ethical data practices we are commissioning resources for organisations to be supported in any areas identified as needing focus under the data ethics field. User research conducted by the ODI has revealed that the main challenge for organisations is a full and transparent understanding of why data ethics should be considered at a corporate level.

The ODI will provide the content developed and user research conducted to date, drawing on the developing maturity model outlined above, and provide oversight of branding and user interface.


The deliverables will be:

  • Initial mock-ups of the resources for consolidated interactive guidance
  • A short write-up of findings from user research
  • A functional prototype suitable for testing with communities of practice in the ODI or contractor’s network – if applicable for any interactive resources developed as part of this tender
  • The code for the prototype (again if applicable) – so that the ODI can take on further development and maintenance of the resources, and readily change both the content and interactive flow of the application as required. Ideally the prototype will be written in JavaScript or Python, and stable and established web frameworks such as Vue/React, but this is open to discussion.

Applicants should propose the format and length of deliverables, and phasing of delivery timescales, as part of the tender response.

We expect project teams to:

  • Work closely with the ODI team for example, include ODI colleagues in user research/testing and sharing technical developments.
  • Attend feedback sessions with team members.
  • Communicate plans and progress regularly.

The ODI will provide:

  • Documentation and links to existing, related work
  • Access to team members involved in previous and current related work


The successful organisations will work in close collaboration with the ODI team to ensure the deliverables meet the needs of the project.

Engagement around the technological solution would be required, along with any support/materials from the ODI based on the work on data ethics in practice to date will be shared with the successful tender provider.

Form of tender response

Applications can be entered on behalf of a consortium of organisations. Interested parties should submit a costed proposal (in English) to [email protected], which includes:

  • A short (no more than five page) explanation of your proposed product, with references to any relevant existing work or activities
  • A description of why you are best placed to deliver this research
  • A description of the team who will do the work, including biographies
  • The total value (£) of your proposal, with a breakdown of the costs by activity and people
  • A project plan with a clear description of activities, research methods, outputs from the different activities and how the will help to address the research questions outlined
  • Where required, what form of in-kind support from the ODI team would be useful, for example, to provide training, technical support, connections etc
  • Targeted stakeholders that will be approached/engaged as part of this work and proof of their commitment
  • Any risks and data protection considerations

If you have any questions about the tender, please contact [email protected] quoting the tender reference (ODI_DA_05). The ODI reserves the right to make both anonymised questions and answers public or shared with other organisations having stated their interest.

Decision criteria

All proposals will be assessed as described in our public procurement policy. In addition, for this procurement we will be looking for:

  • Applications submitted by a consortia should highlight how money is being spent across the organisations involved and the roles each consortium member will be taking.
  • Alignment with the ODI’s goals and priority areas