Sadiq Khan launches Data for London Advisory Board

Board will look at how to join up and share data between public and private London organisations in an effort to build a stronger data economy and improve public services

London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched the Data for London Advisory Board to help coordinate the collection, sharing and use of data for public benefit across the capital.

Comprising 22 technology experts from the public, private and third sectors, the board will help coordinate effective and responsible data-sharing between a range of London organisations – including councils, public bodies, businesses, universities and civic organisations – in an effort to enhance decision-making and provide Londoners with better digital services.

Although each of these organisations already produces and uses data, the Mayor’s Office said they often require access to data held by others to build new products and services, as well as to gain new insights.

To reduce friction and facilitate better data-sharing between London’s disparate organisations, the board will help develop the capital’s first ever data strategy, with a particular focus on information governance, data ethics, open data and data standards.

The Mayor’s Office said the improved sharing and use of data would help tackle issues in a number of key areas, including transport, crime and the environment.

The board will also advise London chief digital officer Theo Blackwell on the creation of a new Data for London Platform, which is intended replace the existing London Data Store and expand its functionality. The mayor previously committed £500,000 of funding to the platform in June 2022.

“Joining up data can help City Hall and other key London organisations gain insights into some our most pressing challenges and take action to resolve them,” said Blackwell, who will also chair the board. “This can be through informing better decisions or by supporting innovators to create new products and services. London is the centre of data economy and innovation, and we must continue to evolve and update our data ecosystem to remain at the cutting edge.

“The Data for London Advisory Board will improve the responsible and effective use and sharing of data to support every one of the mayor’s manifesto commitments and to help build a better, smarter London for everyone.”

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The board, which had its inaugural meeting at City Hall on 15 November, is also intended to reflect the diversity of the city. Just over half of its members are women, and just under one-third are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Also, one in 10 has a disability.

Appointees include: Ade Adewunmi, a manager for data strategy and advising at Cloudera Fast Forward Labs; Andy Mobbs, head of business intelligence for the London Fire Brigade; James Friend, director of digital strategy for NHS England London region; Jay Saggar, a programme manager in London’s Office of Technology and Innovation; Natalie Cramp, chief executive of Profusion; and Sophie Gray, UK director of data and artificial intelligence (AI) at Microsoft.

Also board members are: Stuart Coleman, director of learning and business development at the Open Data Institute; Tom Natt, director of engineering at Macmillan Cancer Support; Aimee Reed, director of data at the Met Police; Lauren Sager-Weinstein, chief data officer of Transport for London; and Cosmina Dorobantu, deputy director of the public policy programme at the Alan Turing Institute.

In September 2021, London published the fourth iteration of its Emerging Technology Charter for London, a set of practical and ethical guidelines that outline the city’s expectations for how new data-enabled technologies should be developed and deployed for use in the public realm.

The overall goal of the charter is to: set common expectations for how buyers and makers can innovate successfully; give Londoners and their elected representatives a clear framework to ask questions about the technologies being deployed in London; and improve transparency around the products and services that data protection law considers a high risk to privacy.

Although the guidelines are voluntary, local government and technology companies have both been encouraged to adopt them.

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