Camden publishes the Data Charter, which promises safer and more ethical use of data

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In response to the Data Charter, the Council has made a number of commitments to meet residents’ demands. These include:

  • Publish a data-sharing registry to publicly share any data-sharing arrangements, subject only to the need to redact or withhold publication to protect third-party personal information and confidential business information.
  • Conducts an annual resident panel to ensure data-driven projects meet the principles of the data charter.
  • Encouraging partners and other organizations from the public and private sectors in Camden to commit to the principles of the Data Charter.

Councilor Leo Cassarani, Cabinet Advisor for the Camden Data Charter, said:

“The principles, vision, criteria for success and governance of the data charter were developed in collaboration with residents and community groups.

“Key to this was a resident panel, representatives from Camden’s communities, who spent three day sessions learning about how we are currently using data in Camden, the challenges and benefits of data, and then helping us develop the fundamentals of the data charter supported.”

The panel was moderated by Involve, the UK’s leading public participation charity, with support from the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

dr Christopher Burr, Ethics Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, said:
“Camden has set an important precedent for how residents and communities can and should work together to ensure data works for the greater good. There are many positive ways that algorithms and data-driven technologies can support human decision-making within local government. But they often presuppose that a consensus has been built around core ethical and social values ​​such as “fairness” or “respect for privacy”.

“The Camden Data Charter does not take such fundamental values ​​for granted. Rather, it is built on an ongoing process of open and accessible dialogue that engages diverse communities and voices. Our next step at the Alan Turing Institute is to use this example to help more communities use data in an ethical, responsible and trustworthy way.”

Simon Burall, Senior Associate at Involve, said:

“The past two years have shown how important it is to share health and social data in order to fight the pandemic. But they have also clearly shown that public trust in the way data is shared and used must be maintained.

“In the long term, trust will only be maintained if the public is effectively involved in decisions about the collection and use of their data. We were pleased to work with Camden Council and the Alan Turing Institute to design and provide Camden’s Citizen Data Panel to draft a data charter for Camden. This charter, created by citizens, will help the Council make decisions about when to use data and when not to.

“We look forward to working with the council over the coming months to engage community groups in using the charter to assess potential projects and shape Camden’s approach to using data.”

The council also conducted wider public engagement including workshops with community groups and invited residents to share their views on the actual use of data in Camden, from linking NHS and social care records to enable Camden to provide vital information about the health and welfare of residents with professionals from both public services to a joint data-driven approach to installing charging points for electric vehicles.

You can read Camden’s data charter here.

Members of the residents’ committee said:

  • “I’m certainly more aware of my rights as a Camden resident. I believe that the ideas or principles of the panelists contributed to the formation of the data charter and are inclusive and beneficial to all.” – Aysha
  • “As a Camden resident, I am pleased that the Council is proactive in establishing the Data Charter Advisory Board, which is both inclusive of all Camden citizens and representative.” – C
  • “I really enjoyed meeting other panelists to discuss ideas and share experiences.” – Teyesh

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