Camden Council has agreed to adopt a Data Charter for the borough, following a presentation at yesterday’s (19 January) Cabinet meeting by resident panellists, officers and councillors, who worked with community groups, residents, and partner organisations to develop the charter.

Camden’s Data Charter will guide how the Council collects, processes and shares data ethically. 

In response to the Data Charter, the council have made a set of commitments to achieve what residents have asked for. These include:

  • Publishing a Data Sharing Register to publicly share all data sharing agreements, subject only to the need to redact or withhold publication to protect third party personal data and commercially confidential information.
  • Holding a Resident Panel annually to make sure data-enabled projects are meeting the principles of the Data Charter.
  • Encouraging partners and other organisations across the public and private sectors in Camden to pledge to the principles of the Data Charter.

Councillor Leo Cassarani, Cabinet Adviser for Camden Data Charter said: “The principles, vision, success criteria and governance of the Data Charter were developed in collaboration with residents and community groups. 

“Key to this was a Resident Panel, representative of Camden’s communities, which spent three day-long sessions learning about how we currently use data in Camden, the challenges and benefits of data, and then helping us in developing the foundations of the Data Charter.”

The Panel was facilitated by Involve, the UK’s leading public participation charity, with support from The Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

Dr Christopher Burr, Ethics Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute, said: “Camden has set an important precedent for how residents and councils can and should collaborate to ensure data works for the public good. There are many positive ways that algorithms and data-driven technologies can support human decision-making within local government. But they often presuppose that consensus has been built around key ethical and social values, such as ‘fairness’ or ‘respect for privacy’. 

“Camden’s Data Charter does not take such foundational values for granted. Rather, it is built on an ongoing process of open and accessible dialogue, which is inclusive to diverse communities and voices. Our next step at The Alan Turing Institute is to use this example to support more councils use data in an ethical, responsible, and trustworthy manner.” 

The Council also carried out wider public engagement including workshops with community groups, and invited residents to share their views on real uses of data in Camden, from linking NHS and social care records to allow Camden to share vital information about residents’ health and social care with professionals in both public services, to using a joined-up data-led approach to installing electric vehicle charging points. 

Read the full press release from Camden Council.