Greater Manchester to ‘do data better’ following summer’s exam results fiasco

Local government and business leaders have come together in a bid to ‘do data better’; aiming to turn the region into a responsible data user that learns lessons from the summer exams fiasco.

Key personnel are pledging their support for the Declaration for Responsible and Intelligent Data Practice – a shared vision for the region co-created by Open Data Manchester (ODM) with expert practitioners from multiple sectors.

The Declaration seeks to differentiate ‘the good’ from ‘the bad’ among those that use data and turn Greater Manchester into a ‘pioneer’.

Its 23 principles have been created to prevent repeats of issues like those seen with the disastrous exam results algorithm earlier this year.

Launching with the support of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), along with tech trade body Manchester Digital, the Declaration represents public and private-sector commitment to making good decisions.

Councillor Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Digital, said: “For Greater Manchester to achieve its digital ambitions we need the whole ecosystem to pull together and it’s fantastic to see collaboration of this kind informing how we ‘do data better’ across the region.

“It’s vital that our people have absolute confidence in what’s happening to their information and that our professionals use data responsibly and effectively to improve decision-making, supporting those most in need.

“The commitments made in this declaration will help us create a digital city region for everyone. A region that takes an approach to digital that ensures no one gets left behind.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson came in for criticism following the exam results fiasco – Flickr

Katie Gallagher, Managing Director of Manchester Digital, added: “This is pioneering piece of work that puts the region at the forefront of responsible data use.

“Adopting these principles will further enhance and differentiate the region’s reputation for being a leading technology hub.

“Manchester Digital is delighted to support this work and we look forward to working with Open Data Manchester to encourage businesses to adopt the declaration in the coming months.”

The UK government launched a consultation on a new National Data Strategy earlier this month – which has ‘responsible data use’ as one of its themes. 

The government’s consultation closes in December and the results will be shared next year.

To explore the issue further, Open Data Manchester is launching a series of events called Demistifying the Algorithm, including one called Policy, Politics and the Algorithm.

You can sign up to the newsletter to learn more.

Visit the official website for the Declaration here.

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