This blog was written by Nailah Ukaidi.

SAVVI (Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability) met with members of Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) to learn more about their work and how it supports the aims of our work in SAVVI. The purpose of the SAVVI project is to define, and encourage the adoption of, sector-wide data standards that will help local councils and their partners to improve their processes to identify vulnerable people, and target appropriate support to those in greatest need.

CDEI has worked in conjunction with the Central Data & Digital Office (CDDO) to produce the Algorithmic Transparency Standard. This standard will be an important reference tool within the SAVVI Information Governance (IG) Framework to be used along-side the Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) process. CDEI has also produced a couple of reports: an Algorithmic Bias Review and, of particular interest to SAVVI, a Trust in Public Data Sharing Report which highlights the key barriers to data sharing. This report highlights, and starts to address, many of the issues also identified by SAVVI. These include the following barriers to public data sharing and current initiatives :

Barrier                         Current initiatives

Legal barriers

*The Digital Economy Act aims to provide legal gateways to sharing where they don’t already exist (while also being                      consistent with the ICO data sharing code).

*The ICO Data Sharing Code aims to provide clarity and guidance to controllers in relation to GDPR, while also dispelling                myths and clarifying misunderstandings.

Technical barriers       

*The ONS Secure Research Service provides a safe environment for researchers to use sensitive public sector data.

Cultural barriers           

*The National Data Strategy, led by DCMS, may address some of the cultural barriers to data sharing and attempt to address siloed working.                                      

CDEI notes that the above initiatives do not pick up specifically on public trust, which remains an ongoing concern. CDEI are therefore also engaging a second phase of work on data-sharing that will focus on the topic of trust.  In their next phase of work, CDEI aims to explore mechanisms which may drive more data sharing in the public interest, while also addressing what they refer to as ‘tenuous trust’.

Where data is shared for public interest purposes, CDEI  highlights that there is a ‘lack of agreement and shared understanding of what is publicly acceptable’.  CDEI will therefore build on this and identify the conditions in which data sharing is in the public interest, while also setting out how to address public trust.

As part of this work, CDEI will consider the wider governance arrangements and review how decisions to share data could be made and whether there may be a role for an independent third party.

CDEI will also consider the safeguards needed to ensure such sharing can be considered trustworthy. This may also include an exploration of the technology available to protect data and individuals’ identities – recognising that this is a fast changing area. By identifying the conditions for public interest data sharing, CDEI would aim to set out a more consistent framework designed to address the current complex and uncertain environment.

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If you are interested in learning more about the SAVVI project, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us at