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UK Government has published national data strategy

UK Government has published national data strategy

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced a national data strategy, that will provide 500 data analyst jobs in the public sector and offer 10 fellowships in Downing Street.

There will also be a £2.6m project to “address barriers to data sharing and support innovation in the detection of online harms”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published guidance for the strategy in July 2019.

The strategy announced on Tuesday is still a work in progress. To help shape the final document, the government has launched a “consultation to help shape the core principles of the strategy, our ambitions for the use of data across the economy and policy proposals”, said the DCMS in a statement.

The strategy includes plans to introduce primary legislation to increase participation in what are being called “smart data initiatives”. These are said to be aimed at giving people the ability to use their own data to find better tariffs for telecoms, energy and pensions.

It also restates the long-standing intention to appoint a government chief data officer “to lead a whole-government approach to transforming government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services”.

The 10 Innovation Fellowships will offer the successful candidates the chance to work with the new No. 10 Data Science team as well as Government Digital Service (GDS) people.

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The first cohort of fellows will start in April 2021. The fellowships will be awarded for 12 to 24 months.

The 500 analysts will be trained, by 2021, through the Data Science Campus at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Government Analysis Function, and the Government Digital Service.

In support of the strategy, and ahead of his speech at London Tech Week’s Global Leaders Innovation Summit, 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.”

The £2.6m project, conflated with the data strategy, and referred to in the department’s press statement, about combating online harms will “model how improved systems for classification and sharing of data could support a competitive commercial market in tools able to detect online harms such as cyber bullying, harassment or suicide ideation”.

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