Since our last update at the end of July, the Centre team have been working on a range of outputs. Here is a summary of some of our key activities in the last two months and what we are hoping to do next.
We have recently released our latest ethics guidance on considering public views and engagement in research and statistics projects, alongside an accompanying blog by Reema Patel, Associate Director (Engagement) at the Ada Lovelace Institute and member of the Centre for Applied Data Ethics independent Advisory Committee. As always, your comments and feedback on this open early draft are very welcome.
Thank you to everyone that has suggested ethics guidance topics to us and those who have provided comments and feedback on current drafts of guidance – we very much appreciate this engagement with our work!
Centre Advisory Committee
We have been preparing for the next meeting of the UK Statistics Authority’s Centre for Applied Data Ethics independent Advisory Committee (CADEAC), which is being held in early October. We will be following up our previous discussions on measuring the impact of the Centre, considering our proposed future guidance plans, hearing an update from our data ethics service colleagues, and overviewing our latest international activities.
We have been busy engaging with our international colleagues over the summer following the initial theme meeting on data ethics approaches within the statistical context that we held with interested National Statistical Institutes in July. This has included becoming a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Ethical Leadership task team and planning future deep dive meetings on specific topics related to the application of data ethics for research and statistics.
Data ethics services update
On the ethics service side, we are continuing to work on the development of our new ethics self-assessment tool in response to feedback received as part of our user review earlier this year. We hope to be user testing this, and subsequently releasing it, by the end of this year. In addition, we also hope to be streamlining the current NSDEC application form to ensure an efficient process of data ethics consideration.
Out and about
We have presented our data ethics work at several events, including sharing our experiences at:
- United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Stats Café on Big Data Governance
- Data for Policy Conference
- Royal Statistical Society International Conference
- British Society for Population Studies Annual Conference
We have also submitted a letter to the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee providing an overview of our current data ethics work.
What’s coming next?
As ever, we will continue building on these activities and outputs over the coming weeks, but will be particularly focusing on:
- We will be discussing our work at several international events in the coming months, including sessions at the Statistics Canada International Methodology Symposium and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Expert Meeting on Modernising Statistical Legislation.
- We hope to release our ethics guidance on machine learning for research and statistics, which has been developed in collaboration with international colleagues as part of the Office for National Statistics – United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Machine Learning 2021 Group ethics workstream, and our high-level checklist focused on ethical considerations in the use of third-party data, very soon. We also have several ethics topics that have been suggested that we hope to pursue later in the year.
- We are currently engaging with interested parties regarding data ethics in other international regions, including talking about our work at the October meeting of the Royal Statistical Society International Development Section.