Published on May 16, 2017

Data sharing: six local area partners announced

What is the public benefit of sharing personal data?

By Simon Burall

Simon Burall is a Senior Associate of Involve. He has extensive experience in the fields of democratic reform, governance, public participation, stakeholder engagement, and accountability and transparency.

Government stores and uses personal data about citizens as part of the way it does its work. Effective use of this data means that government can deliver more effective and efficient public services to the public. However, the storage and use of, what can sometimes be, highly personal data raises concerns about both privacy and security. Our Data Sharing and Public Benefit project, supported by the Carnegie UK Trust and Wellcome’s Understanding Patient Data, is designed to build a better understanding of how different groups (government, civil society and advocacy groups) at local level make sense of, and balance, the trade-offs inherent in data sharing; specifically between public and individual benefit, and privacy and security.

We are delighted to announce the six areas we will be partnering with to deliver the project:

  • Essex County Council;
  • Leeds City Council;
  • Manchester Combined Authority;
  • Melton Borough Council;
  • Sheffield City Council; and
  • West Midlands Combined Authority.

One of the key questions we are keen to explore through this project is whether the balance stakeholders draw between risk and public benefit shifts depending on the types of personal data being shared (eg. financial information, health records, benefit claims), the sectors and service delivery organisations involved in the sharing, and the level of annonymisation involved. For this reason we will be focusing across four service delivery themes:

  • Health and social care;
  • Welfare;
  • Criminal justice; and
  • Housing

Over the course of June and July, we will convene a workshop in each of these areas which will be attended by both civil society, government officials and public sector partners. These workshops will give participants the time to work together to develop a better understanding of public benefit and explore the various trade-offs in more detail. Following this participating areas will receive a report exploring the ways that civil society organisations at a local level make the different trade-offs as a framework for continuing discussions in their area, and a full report will also be published.

If you’d like to find out more information, or get involved, please contact Kaela Scott – kaela@involve.org.uk

Picture credit: Pixabay

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