Data: A New Direction

The Department for Digital, Culture, media and Sport who are the responsible department for Data Protection Legislation in the UK launched an open consultation on proposed reforms to data protection legislation. The focus of the proposed reforms are to change those areas of the current regime that are perceived to not encourage or create barriers to growth and innovation.

The consultation foreword sets out that changes are to ‘build on the key elements of the current UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), such as its data processing principles, its data rights for citizens, and its mechanisms for supervision and enforcement. The proposals aim to deliver an even better data protection regime that will: Support vibrant competition and innovation to drive economic growth’.

The consultation will be the first step in the process of reforming UK Data Protection law. The deadline for responses was 19th November 2021.

Reforms proposed in the consultation seek to:

  • strengthen our position as a science superpower, simplifying data use by researchers and developers of AI and other cutting-edge technologies
  • build on the unprecedented and life-saving use of data to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic
  • secure the UK's status as a global hub for the free and responsible flow of personal data - complementing our ambitious agenda for new trade deals and data partnerships with some of the world’s fastest growing economies
  • reinforce the responsibility of businesses to keep personal information safe, while empowering them to grow and innovate
  • ensure that the ICO remains a world-leading regulator, enabling people to use data responsibly to achieve economic and social goal.

Public trust and the protection of people’s personal data remains a priority of the consultation as it is recognised that without public trust the ability to process personal data for the aims of innovation and growth cannot be achieved without a draconian and approaches that pose a risk to human rights.

Greater Manchester as a City Region is collectively focused on how to achieve its aims and ambitions innovatively, achieve growth, tackle climate change and reform public services with people at the heart of what we do. This means collectively we are working to ensure the rights of data subjects and understand and mitigate any detrimental impact that the use of their personal data can have.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority supported four online engagement workshops, facilitated by Open Data Manchester.  Two sessions focused on significant themes from the consultation of likely interest to Greater Manchester stakeholders, attended by representatives from DCMS.  The other two sessions were focused on community engagement, to provide an accessible overview of the consultation with key issues of most public interest being highlighted.  The GM engagement activity attracted contributions from the public and third sector from Greater Manchester and beyond.

This consultation response submitted by Greater Manchester Combined Authority with the support of the Greater Manchester Information Board reflects those discussions and contributions from the engagement sessions.