ONS | 9 May 2014 | Meeting note


Ben Humberstone -ONS
James Edmonds – ONS
Tammy-Jo Jonson – ONS
Oliver Butler – Law Commission
John McIlwraith – DWP
Rufus Rottenberg – CO
Simon Meats – CO
Mitch Riviere – HMRC
Mike Hughes – National Statistics Advisory Group, RSS
David Kane – NCVO
Sarah Rolin – ICO
Naqina Arkan – DWP
William Elwarn – HMRC
Tracey Gyateng – NPC
Sonia Bussy – Involve
James Denman – DCLG
Peter Lawrence – CO


  1. Welcome by Rufus Rottenberg and summary of the outcomes of the previous meeting.
  2. James and Tammy-Jo presented the current Information Sharing Order process and identified the areas that would change under new legislation. A digest of the debates on the orders had previously been circulated. This demonstrated the variable level of Parliamentary scrutiny on the information sharing orders.
  • What does the parliamentary process add?
  • What should we replace it with?
  1. Small group work to address questions.
1. What are the risks?
Public perceptions of leaks, loss of data, data getting into wrong hands

Fears of administrative use

ONS getting lots of data without adequate governance

Threat to response rate of census and surveys if trust is reduced

Loss of parliamentary scrutiny

Loss of reputation if business cases are not designed to meet parliamentary scrutiny

Media perception of data ‘free for all’

Speculative data shares; would there be more ‘fishing expeditions’?


 2. Possible ideas for safeguards
Consistency with the prohibition on disclosure

Appropriate systems i.e. stand alone computers and restricted staff

More clarity around the legal safeguards that currently exist

Full parliamentary scrutiny of proposed legislation that would give ONS these new powers

Transparency, i.e. publish all PIAs and business cases on the ONS website for all data shares

ICO providing continuing scrutiny

Information assurance processes, panels, systems and accreditation in place

Information Asset Owners personally responsible and accountable for data

Publicity for business cases and give two weeks for comments to be fed in from the public

ICO has already produced data sharing code of practice

ICO conducts audits, but focuses on those organisations where they feel they will have the biggest impact.

Accreditation process for researchers

A non-statutory panel (like the ADRN approval panel) appointed by ONS/UKSA containing some external members to report annually on the ethics and public benefit of the data accessed by ONS under the new powers. This report to be published by ONS.

  1. The next meeting is booked for Friday 23rd May. We discussed whether this meeting was required. Rufus will work with Involve to discuss production of a document that all members can comment up. This may be undertaken by correspondence. Rufus will confirm whether the meeting will go ahead.
  1. Actions
Action By whom
Send information regarding the Information Assurance process to Rufus Tammy-Jo Johnson
Send information regarding the accredited researcher application process to Rufus Tammy-Jo Johnson
Work with Involve to discuss the next steps Rufus Rottenberg
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Tim Hughes

About Tim Hughes

Tim is Involve's incoming director, taking over from 21st January 2017. Tim has led campaigns and advocacy on open government; advised national, devolved and local governments, civil society organisations and multilateral institutions; and researched and written on topics including public participation, open government, democratic reform, civil society advocacy and public administration.

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