Since our last update at the end of March, the Centre team has been busy working on a range of activities and outputs. We have received some fantastic engagement from various organisations and are currently developing plans to take this forward in the coming months, but thanks to all who have reached out and engaged with us so far!

Here is a summary of some of our key activities from April onwards and what we are hoping to do next.

Ethics Self-Assessment review

On 14th April, our ethics self-assessment user review, which sought opinions on our self-assessment service and potential ways of improvement, closed. We have since been working hard to use these results to establish potential courses of action to operationalise plans to build upon this feedback. The results of the review were generally positive, with users giving an average score of 3.6 out of 5 when asked how they would rate the overall ethics self-assessment. However, we are very much aware that there are areas of improvement and we will be working hard to improve the service.

First meeting of our Centre Advisory Committee

On 21st April, we held our first meeting of the UKSA Centre for Applied Data Ethics independent Advisory Committee (CADEAC). The committee is chaired by Professor David Hand and will meet quarterly to advise on the strategic direction, output and impact of the Centre, with the next meeting due to be held in July.

More information about the committee can be found on the Centre webpages, alongside an associated blog by Professor David Hand. We would very much like to thank the committee members for the useful feedback and suggestions that they have provided regarding our activities so far.

Inaugural Roundtable

On 12th May we held our Inaugural Roundtable, which invited attendees from a range of organisations to consider how we can best address emerging ethical challenges in the use of data for research and statistics. Approximately 30 people attended the event and contributed to a very engaging and thought-provoking discussion – thank you to all that attended and made this event possible.

We will be releasing an open discussion paper on the Centre webpages later this month that will overview the key points raised and we hope to organise similar events on specific topic areas in the near future. If you would like to be informed of future events, please get in touch.

Launch of our first ethics guidance: Ethical considerations in the use of geospatial data for research and statistics

On 18th May we launched our first piece of ethics guidance and associated blog by Alistair Calder, focused on ethical considerations in the use of geospatial data for research and statistics. This has been released as an early open draft for wider comment from the user community. We would very much welcome feedback and comments on the current draft, ideally by 18th June.

We thank all of those who have engaged with this to date and helped us to develop the guidance into its current form – it is much appreciated!

International work

We have completed a brief international survey of data ethics priorities and activities in other National Statistical Institutes. The key themes identified in this survey will be overviewed in our forthcoming blog and will form the basis of plans for an international roundtable and further collaborative activities exploring data ethics challenges in an evolving statistical system later in the year.

What’s coming next?

As ever, we are hoping to continue building on these activities and outputs over the coming weeks, but will be particularly focusing on:

  • Working on a first draft of our ethics guidance related to ethical considerations in the use of machine learning in research and statistical contexts. We thank those who have engaged with us so far on this topic and will be continuing to reach out in the coming weeks.
  • Developing plans for an international roundtable, which aims to convene other National Statistical Institutes with an interest in data ethics later in the year to explore ethical challenges and practical solutions related to the modernisation of statistics.
  • Developing plans for further roundtable events and guidance pieces that we hope to get up and running later in the year based on feedback, comments and engagement that we have received to date. More detail on these will be coming soon.

Please do get in touch if you are interested in collaborating with us or want to suggest an ethics guidance topic that you feel we should focus on!