William Eichler 09 September 2020

Digital secretary announces £2.6m data sharing project

The Government today launched a National Data Strategy, which includes a new multi-million pound project to address barriers to data sharing.

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said the new strategy will help companies and organisations to use data to drive digital transformation, innovate and boost growth across the economy.

The new strategy includes a £2.6m project to address current barriers to data sharing and to support innovation to detect online harms.

It also includes plans for 500 analysts to be trained up in data and data science across the public sector by 2021.

‘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,’ said Mr Dowden.

‘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.’

The strategy also includes plans for a new Government Chief Data Officer to lead a whole-government approach to transforming the Government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services.

Dr Jeni Tennison, the vice president at the Open Data Institute, said: ‘People and organisations of all kinds are facing big challenges over the next few years. Data can help us all to navigate them, increasing our understanding of our changing world and informing the decisions we make.

‘Data can also cause harm, for example through over-collection and inappropriate use. At the ODI, we want data to work for everyone, which means ensuring it both gets to the people who need it, and that it is collected, used and shared in trustworthy ways.

‘This National Data Strategy consultation is an important opportunity for us all to explore and influence how data should be used to support the UK’s economy, environment and communities, and we look forward to the debate.’

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