A non-technical guide to the likely social impact of the National Data Strategy

A picture that says “policy briefing note: understanding the social impact of the national data strategy”
A picture that says “policy briefing note: understanding the social impact of the national data strategy”

Anyone who knows me will know that I hate to write a long document — but, unfortunately, I had no choice. My policy briefing note on the National Data Strategy rather stretches the credibility of the word “note” (it is just under 6,000 words long), but there was a lot to say.

Read the briefing note >

Read the summary slide deck>

The briefing note attempts to explain the importance of the National Data Strategy for non-technical audiences, and summarises some of the social impacts. …


On Excel-gate and the UK government’s “quantitative revolution”

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Image for post
Row 65,536 — the last row in an XLS file

In 2014 I was working at a service-design agency, doing discovery interviews at a big utility company — talking to stakeholders and finding out what could be done to make their billing system compatible with the “smart” devices being rolled out by the marketing team.

After a few conversations, it became clear that all roads led back to two system administrators — two women who sat in an unbeloved office at the back of the building, the only people able to do the magic required to spit billing data out of the system. …


Data policy has important social implications and should not only be determined by technologists

A screengrab from the National Data Strategy web page
A screengrab from the National Data Strategy web page

The National Data Strategy might sound like a very technical thing; in reality it is a document that sets out a vision for how information might flow through the UK economy, government and our public services. That information will be used to drive decisions that are made about people and things, and inform the design of products and services.

About

Rachel Coldicutt

Feminist. Responsible technologist. Reading and writing on equality, automation and climate crisis. On sabbatical-ish. Formerly @doteveryone .

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