The National Statistician’s Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC) has been established to advise the National Statistician that the access, use and sharing of public data, for research and statistical purposes, is ethical and for the public good.
NSDEC will consider project and policy proposals, which make use of innovative and novel data, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Government Statistical Service (GSS) and advise the National Statistician on the ethical appropriateness of these.
The Committee will also provide an ethical approval function for Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) projects originating from government and the third sector. The UK Statistics Authority provides the governance for the ADRN.
NSDEC are scheduled to meet quarterly and will have a key role in ensuring transparency around the access, use and sharing of data for statistical purposes. All meeting papers and minutes will be published on the UK Statistics Authority website.
In reviewing project and policy proposals, NSDEC will provide advice to the National Statistician on the basis of the following principles:
- The use of data has clear benefits for users and serves the public good.
- The data subject’s identity (whether person or organisation) is protected, information is kept confidential and secure, and the issue of consent is considered appropriately.
- The risks and limits of new technologies are considered and there is sufficient human oversight so that methods employed are consistent with recognised standards of integrity and quality.
- Data used and methods employed are consistent with legal requirements such as the Data Protection Act, the Human Rights Act, the Statistics and Registration Service Act and the common law duty of confidence.
- The views of the public are considered in light of the data used and the perceived benefits of the research.
- The access, use and sharing of data is transparent, and is communicated clearly and accessibly to the public.