This Article is a Summary for the official National Data Strategy release here
Data is now the driving force of the world's modern economies. It fuels innovation in businesses large and small and has been a lifeline during the pandemic. The UK National Data Strategy aims to build on the manifesto pledge to improve data use for everyone. It seeks to harness the power of data to boost productivity, create new businesses and jobs, improve public services and position the UK as the forerunner of the next wave of innovation. The strategy looks at how anyone can leverage existing UK strengths to boost the better use of data across businesses, government, civil society and individuals. The UK government will act ambitiously at home and on the international stage, aligning the UK history of problem-solving in science and technology with progress, writes David Cameron. The Government will take advantage of being an independent, sovereign nation to maximize those strengths domestically and position the UK internationally to influence the global approach to data sharing and use.
Better use of data can help organisations of every kind succeed – across the public, private and third sectors. It can support the delivery of existing services, from manufacturing to logistics, and it can be used to create entirely new products like NLSQL. It is a driver of scientific and technological innovation, and central to the delivery of a whole range of vital public services and societal goals, from tackling climate change to supporting the National Health Service.
The data market in the UK is the largest in Europe. UK tech grew dramatically in 2019, with the UK securing 33% of European tech investment. Globally, the UK now sits behind only the US and China in terms of venture capital investment. UK government needs a data strategy that reflects the opportunities and challenges of the new hyper-digital world, says Lord Tebbit. It will act ambitiously at home and on the international stage, aligning history of problem-solving in science and technology with progressive values and the competence and pragmatism of regulatory institutions, he says.
The strategy looks at how we can leverage existing UK strengths to boost the better use of data across businesses, government, civil society and individuals, says Tebbits.
The UK response to the global coronavirus pandemic has powerfully illustrated the potential benefits of data. Understanding of this disease, the ability to support people and cooperation across borders have all relied on the responsible and effective use and sharing of data, he adds.
The UK National Data strategy
Data is key to driving growth both within the digital sector and across the economy, government says. The Strategy builds upon the Industrial Strategy, the AI Review and the AI Sector Deal. The strategy covers both reserved and devolved areas. It will be part of the Digital Strategy, which will be published in the Autumn. A National Data Strategy will require activity and focus beyond government, says the minister. The government will publish a response to this consultation in early 2021, he says. It is hoped the strategy will be a strategy for the whole of the UK and will be implemented across the country in due course. The Strategy is on a UK-wide basis and is open to responses from organisations and individuals across the UK. It applies to reserved areas, and where it covers devolved or transferred areas only.
We are currently in the middle of a fourth industrial revolution. Technological innovation has transformed our lives, changing the way we live and work. By embracing data and the benefits its use brings, the UK now faces tangible opportunities to improve our society and grow our economy. If we get this right, data and data-driven technologies like AI could provide a significant boost to the entire economy. Data can improve productivity and provide better-quality jobs. But it can also transform our public services and dramatically improve health outcomes nationally. It can keep us safe and assist the reduction of crime, speed the journey to decarbonisation, and, used well, drive efforts to create a more inclusive, less biased society.
By having access to more of it, combined with the ability to analyse it through modern techniques, we get greater insight into what works and what does not – both in terms of selling products and services, and in terms of making our own processes and practices more efficient. Data therefore has the potential to significantly enhance economic competitiveness and productivity across the UK economy, through new data-enabled business models, as well as through the adoption of data-driven processes by existing businesses.
Organisations do not always make the best use of the data they hold, whether due to a lack of skills, a lack of leadership or a lack of resources – government and the wider public sector provide examples of this. Many organisations are limited in their access to data, much of which is controlled by a small number of key players. When data is available, it may be in formats that are unhelpful or of undetermined accuracy. And while the UK does have a wealth of data skills, these are concentrated in areas of UK expertise like science and technology; we have identified an overall lack of data skills across the workforce as a whole.
This strategy suggests five priority projects where the UK government can take action to have the greatest impact now. This paper also documents additional actions that will help the National Data Strategy delivery. A key focus area will be ensuring to put in place the right processes and frameworks to track and measure progress towards each of these acts.
This strategy looks at how the UK government can exploit existing strengths in the UK to make better use of data through businesses, civil society and people. The UK will take advantage of being an independent, sovereign nation after leaving the European Union to leverage those strengths domestically, and position themselves internationally to influence the global approach to data sharing and use. At home and on the international level, the UK will behave ambitiously, aligning science and technology problem-solving tradition with democratic ideals and the integrity and pragmatism of regulatory institutions.