The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has published a policy paper which outlines the UK Government’s framework for action “to set the correct conditions to make private and third sector data more usable, accessible and available across the UK’s economy while protecting people’s data rights and private enterprises’ intellectual property”. This policy paper is the first ‘priority mission’ which falls out of the UK’s ambitious National Data Strategy.

In particular, the framework identifies four ‘data opportunities’ that the Government believes will be aided by unlocking data in the private sector and third sectors, namely boosting productivity, supporting new businesses and jobs, increasing the speed, efficiency and scope of scientific research, and creating a fairer society for all. Also of note are the priority areas for action:

  • To establish foundations to promote the development and use of data standards, fostering a responsible, efficient and effective data ecosystem and a trust-driven data economy in which data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
  • To support infrastructure, encouraging the development and deployment of privacy enhancing technologies, enabling responsible data sharing by intermediaries, and developing an infrastructure that promotes data availability for R&D.
  • To ‘encourage’ the market – essentially involving government intervention to stimulate data-driven markets where market forces fail to deliver.
  • To lead, co-operate and collaborate – essentially forging relationships with international partners and looking to learn from their experiences.

The Government is continuing to develop and curate its evidence base in this area in order to determine how best to target its actions to achieve these objectives and an update on this priority mission is likely to follow sometime in 2022. Over the coming weeks, Bristows will be publishing a series of short commentaries about unlocking the value of data in various sectors and from various perspectives.