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Long-Awaited National Data Strategy Released by UK Government

David Paul

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National Data Strategy

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the strategy which aims to streamline the way that the government uses data.

The UK Government has announced its National Data Strategy, more than a year after guidance published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

The DCMS said it hopes the plans will build on the government’s manifesto pledge to improve data usage in government.

Downing Street also intends to free up businesses and organisations and ensure data is being used to innovate, experiment and “drive a new era of growth,” as well boosting productivity, creating new businesses and jobs and improving public services.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said data and data use must be “seen as opportunities to be embraced, rather than threats against which to be guarded”.

Commenting on the new plans, he said: “The strategy is a central part of the government’s wider ambition for a thriving, fast-growing digital sector in the UK, underpinned by public trust. We want the UK to be a nation of digital entrepreneurs, innovators and investors, the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, as well as the safest place in the world to go online.

“We will set out more on how we propose to support a digital drive for growth in our Digital Strategy, which we will be publishing in the autumn.”

In an effort to detect and address harmful content viewed online and to protect users, the government is also launching a £2.6 million programme to help companies develop AI-based solutions to tackle the issues more effectively.

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The strategy is still not in its final stage. The government is carrying out a consultation which the DCMS said in a statement will help to “shape the core principles of the strategy,” as well as how the data will be used across the economy and proposals for future policy.

Dowden said: “This document is a framework for the action this government will take on data. It is not the final answer, but part of a conversation about the way that we support the use of data in the UK.

“We lay out the opportunities that we want to realise, the pillars that we have identified as core to unlocking the power of data for the UK, and the missions that we must prioritise now.”

The government has already set up Data Skills Taskforce to “act as a knowledge and best practice-sharing forum across key participants from industry and higher education, and to promote data skills and analytics,” and includes the Edinburgh based Data Lab as a member.

The Data Lab is partly funded by the Scottish government and will work to help “maximise value from data” and play a “key role in helping to develop data skills in Scotland.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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