Since our last update in February, the Centre team have been busy working on a range of outputs. Here is a summary of our key activities over the last few months:
Data Ethics Services
At the end of March, we relaunched our new and improved ethics self-assessment tool, following an extensive user consultation process. The revised tool is now in use and the changes have made it easier and more efficient for analysts to identify and mitigate ethical risks within their work. Following senior-level support from our Second Permanent Secretary, Sam Beckett, we have been reaching out to Programme leads across the Office for National Statistics to support the use of the new tool. We have also been engaging with our external users.
The National Statisticians Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC) met at the end of April to consider several projects. This included discussions around admin-based population estimates, the linkage of benefit and earning data to understand long-term health and employment outcomes due to COVID-19, and the ethical considerations for a weighting methodology. The minute for this meeting will be published on the UK Statistics Authority website soon and the next meeting will be held in July.
The Centre developed a proposal for a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in-depth review on data ethics which has now been accepted. We are leading this work alongside Statistics Canada, with support from Statistics Poland and Eurostat. The in-depth review aims to address gaps and emerging issues in relation to statistical development in different countries and international organisations by identifying challenges and proposing how to solve them.
In April, we attended the International Association for Official Statistics Annual Conference in Krakow and participated in discussions on the ethical challenges that go with the increasing role of data in societies and economies. In June, we are attending the European Conference on Quality in Official Statistics in Vilnius to participate in discussions on data ethics.
We have released a new piece of guidance on the ethical considerations relating to the inclusivity of data for research and statistics. This has been produced in response to the recommendations of the Inclusive Data Taskforce. The guidance provides a practical resource for analysts to identify and address ethical issues relating to inclusivity within their work, and is based around the UK Statistics Authority’s six ethical principles. If you have any feedback on this piece of guidance, or would like to suggest an ethics guidance topic, please get in touch with the Centre for Applied Data Ethics team.
Centre Advisory Committee
At the beginning of May, we held our fifth meeting of the independent UK Statistics Authority’s Centre for Applied Data Ethics Advisory Committee (CADEAC). Here we presented an outline of the Centre’s current activities, discussed our international work plans and delivered an update on our ethics services. We are also working on a new piece of guidance on the ethical considerations in qualitative research which is being developed in collaboration with the UK Government Data Quality Hub, based at the Office for National Statistics. This is currently in draft and will be published soon! The minute for this meeting will be available to view on the UK Statistics Authority website in due course.