In recent years there has been much discussion about the need to improve access to data to boost AI in the UK. New ideas such as data trusts are starting to be explored to achieve this goal, with the ODI recently commissioned to run two data trust pilots.
At the same time, there has also been a growing clamour around whether the proceeds of the use of data are being shared equitably. Calls for ‘data ownership’ are perhaps in part driven by a sense that huge wealth is being created, but not being passed back to those upon whose data that wealth was made.
At TechUK’s recent data ethics summit Prof Floridi said (min 27) the most important development he wanted to see next year was to find a way to return the value created from the use of public data to the public. Riffing on the ‘data as oil’ analogy he suggested that the UK treat the wealth created from the use of public data in the same way the Norwegians used the wealth from their oil; to establish a sovereign wealth fund.
Nowhere are these issues more keenly felt than with regards to NHS data. With an ageing population and new, brilliant, but more expensive treatments brought to market each day, the need to use data to innovate and reduce healthcare costs is key to the future of the NHS. At the same time many are wary that due to current pressures and weaker commercial and data expertise, NHS trusts may unknowingly be giving away the nation’s valuable data assets to tech service providers.
To ensure we can make the most of this data without losing out, we need to understand how and where in these systems value is created, whether and how we can appraise data assets, and what the available commercial models are for sharing this value equitably, whilst also enabling innovation.
It is challenges and questions such as these that makes Reform’s recent and excellent report ‘Making NHS Data Work for Everyone’ so timely and the subject of our upcoming data policy evening. We are very lucky to have Eleonora Harwich, one of the paper's authors and Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation at Reform, providing introductory reflections based on her report. As she says:
"Giving access to data held by public sector organisations to industry for product or service development is a thorny topic. Some view as privatisation through the back door, whilst others blindly embrace it without thinking of the safeguards that might need to be put in place. Having a conversation about the value of data, what a fair apportioning of that value is and how this translates into a commercial model is crucial if the public sector is to fully harness the value of its data."
The aim of the data policy network evening is to combine focused discussion on the question of proportionality, with a chance to just chat to one another over food and drinks about what we’re working on and thinking about. To get a good balance, the first and last hour are left open for people to chat about anything, with the middle bit structured around a few specific questions for debate.
As usual the evening will be split into open discussion and a more structured debate around the theme and selected questions.
5.45-6.45: General discussion and networking over food and drinks
6.45-7.00: Introductory reflections from Eleonora Harwich
7.00-8.00: Debate of selected questions in groups
8.00-9.00: Back to open discussion
We try to keep the event relatively small to enable group discussions, but if you think there’s someone who would be particularly interested in the topic then please let us know and we’d be happy to invite them.
7th March 2019
05:45pm - 09:00pm
Alto Tower, 3rd Floor
5 Hatfields, SE1 9PG
London, United Kingdom
by invitation only
Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation at Reform.