Declaration for responsible and intelligent data practice v0.1 (draft)

18th April 2019

Why a declaration?

Open Data Manchester CIC believes that developing a set of shared commitments and understanding upheld by this community and its partners will support Greater Manchester in becoming and maintaining itself as a beacon of best practice in data. It would bring together a wide range of expertise and responsibilities – within and outside of public sector bodies – which are at risk of being siloed.

What is the responsible and intelligent data declaration?

This is a shared vision and set of expectations of how Greater Manchester public sector authorities, individuals, companies, civil society and other institutions can work together to ensure that people and institutions are: 

  • empowered by responsible data sharing and use; 
  • aware of opportunities and risks presented by collection and use of data, including personal data;
  • aware of and understand the potential harms associated with exploitation and a lack of safeguards;
  • confident in their approaches to using data and are supported by a broader community of data practitioners.

We are looking for partners to help inform this declaration and then work together to ensure that Greater Manchester is a leading centre for responsible & intelligent data practice. We would convene people around the opportunities and risks around key data practice issues, to understand data and its underlying technologies, and associated impacts both positive and negative and set out the problem and propose best practice. 

Below are a set of potential themes and methods that a data declaration would address, depending on inputs from partners.

  1. Themes: What does responsible & intelligent data practice look like?
    1. AI, algorithms and pervasive technology
      1. Use of algorithms – e.g. by police, facial recognition tech
      2. The implications of pervasive sensor environments
      3. Develop and adopting fair systems of governance
      4. How technology is developed within a socio-technical framework
    2. Impacts of data use: raising awareness and understanding of how data use impacts, affects, and is affected by technology, culture and representation – as a foundation for good data practice. This would tackle issues such as: 
      1. How tech forces a system on its users
      2. Recognising the political nature of data
      3. Use of data for policy-making – raising awareness of the (unintended) consequences of data analysis (e.g. re-categorisation of homeless people) and the need to contextualise data 
      4. Standpoint, bias, critical thinking and ownership
    3. Personal data and data privacy
      1. Data sharing between public bodies and private sector
      2. Data rights (legal, moral and ethical)
    4. Adoption of open standards in data
      1. Encouraging use by others and implementation by public bodies
      2. Supporting their development
    5. Data and democracy
      1. Data that helps people understand and participate in the processes of a healthy democratic society
      2. To inform people & communities about their locality and government
      3. To support effective engagement and voting
  1. Methods: How do we create responsible & intelligent data policies and practices? 
    1. Strategies for engaging broad groups of stakeholders
    2. Co-designing appropriate solutions using data
      1. e.g. the development of the Office of Civic Data Analytics (OCDA) with the GMCA as a “permeable institution”
      2. Reproducible/collaborative data analysis (e.g. working on GitHub) 
    3. Data policies for cities
    4. Training and Engagement programmes including targeted events and collaborations with thought leaders such as the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
    5. Decision-making processes using data:
      1. e.g. understanding the opportunities, challenges and risks associated with data
      2. Use of citizen generated data (including ethical considerations)
      3. Ensuring collection of data from marginalised groups informs policy making and public services (e.g. mobility data)
    6. Shared learning:
      1. Development of resources and materials that can be used by others
      2. Learning from other cities and jurisdictions
      3. Creating fora for discussing, demonstrating and sharing of ideas, insight and practice

This is an initial draft declaration. Over the coming months it will evolve collaboratively and comments and suggestions as to its development are welcomed. This document is made available as CC BY 4.0 (international) For further information email

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