The RSS has, this week, sent letters to several political parties, calling for recommendations made in our newly published Data Manifesto to be included within their manifesto development.
Letters signed by our executive director Hetan Shah were sent to the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats ahead of the 12 December 2019 General Election.
The letter highlights key recommendations as follows:
- We need greater data sharing between government departments for statistics and research purposes - in order to improve policymaking and strengthen our public services. Academics should also be given better access to government data for their research.
- Data regulation must be updated to protect the public, with uses of biometric data, through new techniques such as facial recognition, needing to be done within a framework that safeguards people’s privacy. Misinformation should also be countered, and the public need to be given the skills to evaluate claims made by or via the media.
- The government needs to exploit investments in data while meeting the 2.4% target of GDP investment in research and development. This will help the UK to keep pace with other leading scientific nations; we should also ensure that both the Office for National Statistics and the Government Statistical Service are adequately resourced.
- To strengthen democracy, people need to see themselves reflected in the data; statistics should be easy to break down by sex, race, disability, age and so on. While government should clearly invest in the 2021 census, we also want to see the development of alternatives to allow for census-type data to become available more readily and speedily.
We hope to see the party's manifestos spell out how they would utilise data for better policymaking and for society.
Read our 2019 Data Manifesto, outlining our ten recommendations on how the next UK government can use data to improve policymaking, democracy and prosperity.