Insights Government publishes response to consultation on National Data Strategy


The National Data Strategy consultation was published in September 2020 and ran until 9 December 2020. The Government says that the feedback received has confirmed that the framework it set out is fit for purpose and that the Government must now take action to ensure that it makes the most of data’s many opportunities.

The framework identified four interconnected issues, or “pillars”, that the Government must tackle and five areas of action, or “missions”, it says that it needs to prioritise now. The four pillars are:

  • data foundations;
  • data skills;
  • data availability; and
  • responsible data use.

The five missions are to:

  • unlock the value of data held across the economy;
  • secure a pro-growth and trusted data regime;
  • transform the Government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services;
  • ensure the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data use relies; and
  • champion the international flow of data.

The Government says that by accomplishing the five missions and supporting the pillars of effective data use, it can harness the power of data to drive growth and innovation, fuel new jobs and businesses, support scientific research, revolutionise the public sector and create a fairer society for all.

In its analysis of the consultation feedback received, the Government says that respondents generally welcomed the framing of data as a strategic asset that should be used for economic and social benefit and tended to agree that the strategy identified the right pillars and missions in order to make the most of the opportunities presented by better data use.

Respondents also broadly agreed that data use should not just be considered as a threat to be managed, but also embraced as an opportunity to drive productivity and innovation across the economy, fuel scientific research, revolutionise the public sector and create a fairer and more prosperous society for all. Respondents also highlighted the potential for data use to support wider government priorities.

However, the Government noted that respondents also stressed the need to ensure that the data revolution works for everyone, everywhere. This included drawing attention to specific challenges around incorrect or inappropriate uses of data (often expressed as data bias), digital inclusion and connectivity, as well as the need for all citizens to have the appropriate skills to operate and thrive in a data-driven economy. With this in mind, respondents highlighted the importance of continued stakeholder engagement to bring in diverse perspectives from across industry, academia, civil society and the wider public to support implementation and inform future policy development.

Above all, the Government says, respondents’ feedback confirmed that maintaining a high level of public support for data use will be key to unlocking the power of data. Creating a trustworthy data regime that maintains high data protection standards and enables responsible data use will ensure that the benefits of the data revolution are felt by all people, in all places. To read the Government’s response in full, click here.