There were also concerns about operational aspects of the ADRN initiative, though the strict processes that will be in place at the ADRCs reassured. By the end of the second day of dialogue, most participants had concluded that they supported administrative data linkage via the ADRN, if three main conditions were met:
- The data is fully de-identified as per the process described in the workshops
- The data is kept secure at all times
- The data is linked for socially beneficial purposes, broadly defined
In many cases, participants needed extensive information and discussions with experts and researchers in order to be satisfied that these conditions would be met by the ADRN. Participants also indicated that the public should be consulted before any extension of the scope of the ADRN, particularly with relation to access to linked administrative data by private companies in order to help them make a profit.
Technical note:The dialogue encompassed members of the general public (136 in total) within a mixture of age, gender and ethnicity who were broadly representative of each area, each of whom attended two day-long events. A deliberative, dialogue method was considered the optimal approach to allow participants to explore participants’ views on this complex area. It is particularly useful when participants are unfamiliar with a topic, in this case academic social research and the uses of large administrative datasets. As a result, participants were exposed to a range of different from the social science research community, and were invited to discuss case studies where administrative data has already been used.
The Digital Harms Bill: Few doubt the need, many doubt the delivery
It has been recently announced that the Digital Harms Bill (that has been inching closer to its third reading in the House of Commons for months), has been put on hold. For the Government, this bill has been trumpeted as a 'milestone in the fight for a new digital age'.