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Independent ethics committee established

An Essex Data Ethics Committee has been established to provide independent advice to the Essex Centre for Data Analytics (ecda) on the use of data for public benefit.

Jennifer Housego, Head of Digital Change Essex Police, and ecda’s ethics lead said: “From its inception ecda has put ethical practices at the core of its work, subscribing to ethical principles that safeguard the people of Essex, ensuring we are transparent about how we’re using the data we hold only where there are clear benefits to delivering services that improve their lives.

“The Essex Data Ethics Committee will provide additional capacity and independent advice to ensure we achieve a critical balance of the legal and ethical considerations of data use and maintain ethical accountability and public trust. Together the Committee members possess a valuable mix of skills and experience that will support ecda to balance the complex legal and ethical requirements of ecda’s three member organisations.

“Significantly the new Committee will support us to meet increasing demand from partners within Essex for timely, frequent, accurate and relevant analysis and insight to inform the services we provide to some of the most vulnerable people in Essex.”

The Essex Data Ethics Committee data is made up of data science specialists, experienced human rights experts, senior policy representatives, residents of Essex, a senior representative of ecda and Information Governance specialists.

From August the Committee will consider project and policy proposals, which make use of innovative and novel data, from public service organisations within Essex and will advise ecda of the ethical appropriateness of these. Algo-Care, a decision-making framework for the deployment of algorithmic assessment tools, will provide the Committee with support to translate key public law and human rights principles into practical considerations and guidance that can be addressed by ecda. The views of the public will also be sought and considered on the data used and the perceived benefits of the research.

For more information contact ecda@essex.gov.uk

Page created 21/07/20