Government publishes plan to “kickstart data revolution”

National Data Strategy will boost the use of data to drive growth, boost innovation, create new jobs and improve public services

Posted 10 September 2020 by Christine Horton

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced a National Data Strategy and set out the action the government will take to support the use of data in the UK.

The government says the new strategy will “put data at the heart of the country’s recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic. It added that companies and organisations can use it to drive digital transformation, innovate and boost growth across the economy.

It includes plans for 500 analysts to be trained up in data and data science across the public sector by 2021. It also announced plans for a new Government Chief Data Officer to “transform government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services.”

Elsewhere the government is to introduce primary legislation to boost participation in Smart Data initiatives, which can give people the power to use their own data to find better tariffs in areas such as telecoms, energy and pensions.

It also revealed a new £2.6m project “to address current barriers to data sharing and support innovation to detect online harms.”

National Data Strategy

Ahead of his speech at London Tech Week’s Global Leaders Innovation Summit, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: Our response to coronavirus has shown just how much we can achieve when we can share high-quality data quickly, efficiently and ethically. I don’t intend to let that lesson go to waste.

“Our new National Data Strategy will maintain the high watermark of data use set during the pandemic – freeing up businesses, government and organisations to innovate, experiment and drive a new era of growth.

“I am absolutely clear that data and data use are opportunities to be embraced, rather than a threat to be guarded against.”

The government proposes an overhaul in the use of data across the public sector and the government. It aims to transform the way data is managed, used and shared internally and with wider public sectors organisations, to create “an ethical, joined up and interoperable data infrastructure.”

As part of this, the government has also announced up to ten new Innovation Fellowships. Successful applicants will work with the No. 10 Data Science team, Government Digital Service networks and a peer-group of talent.

The strategy commits the government to develop a clear policy framework to determine what interventions are needed to “unlock the value of data”.

In addition, 500 analysts will be trained up in data and data science across the public sector by 2021 through the Data Science Campus at the ONS, the Government Analysis Function, and the Government Digital Service to meet the evolving needs of government.

A new government chief data officer will oversee the Government Digital Service and lead the Digital, Data and Technology function. They will be responsible for shaping and delivering the government’s innovation and transformation strategies to improve capability and ensure the government can better leverage data and emerging technologies to design and deliver citizen-centric services that enhance our reputation as the world’s most digitally-advanced government.