Government departments and agencies build up routine information about all of us as part of their everyday activities. Who should have access to these data?
Were it not for Brexit, it’s likely that the last few weeks would have seen far more discussion about this topic. On 5 July the Cabinet Office published the response to its consultation on the ‘Better Use of Data in Government’. The document’s proposals form the basis of a new Digital Economy Bill, which includes legislation to help researchers access data. The next day Dame Fiona Caldicott, the National Data Guardian for Health and Care, published her review of data security standards and proposed a new consent model for data sharing in the NHS and social care.
Researchers are interested in this so called ‘administrative data’ because its volume and detail can vastly exceed what it’s possible to collect through other routes such as surveys. As a result, bodies like the Economic and Social Research Council have set up special (more…)