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Why  ‘Data for London’ is vital to helping the city prepare for the challenges and opportunities ahead

David Lutton
17th September 2020

This month the London Data Commission (LDC) published a report that I hope will serve as part of the blueprint for making better use of one of the city’s essential resources; data.

Since September last year, London First, the Oliver Wyman Foundation, Arup and Microsoft, brought together the public sector, data experts and some of London’s top businesses to work out how we can use the insights from anonymised data to help solve the challenges facing the city

Last week the Government published its National Data Strategy and introduced plans for a new £2.6m project that will in part address the current barriers to data sharing. In London we’ve been thinking seriously about these issues for a long time, particular since Theo Blackwell MBE became the city’s chief digital officer.  The pressures of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, where data was and is a vital tool in directing the response, only accelerated work around bringing together and opening up the city’s data so it can achieve the most good.

The LDC considered the opportunities, risks and what practical next steps were needed to make better use of our data by sharing and analysing it.

We developed a new framework that we’re calling Data for London. It will have four key parts:

First, convene a London Data Board to deliver the leadership needed to boost the use of data currently available in London and help deliver clearer insights into the city’s challenges by bringing data together.

Second, the Board will oversee the creation of the first London Data Charter to safeguard the anonymity and security of data from individuals and maintain the highest standards, by creating a charter that data holders can opt into.

Third, it will also convene the public and private sectors around annual Data Innovation Challenges to promote the better use of data and the testing of new data technologies directing at key urban challenges — like ensuring the smooth transition to electric vehicles.

Finally, it will find new ways to collaborate on data, both nationally, internationally and within London, to share ideas, best practice and create new partnerships

You can find out more here on our site.  Opening up how the city’s data is used, whilst maintaining the highest standards to protect individual privacy, is at the core of our proposals and we’re working to collaborate with OpenUK on the steps towards making ‘Data for London’ a reality.

David Lutton, Executive Director – Competitiveness, London First


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