Councils sought to trial data-consent auditing service ahead of GDPR

Local authorities are being asked to partner in the development of a service that will manage and monitor people’s consent to data-sharing, in a bid to ease compliance with new European Union data protection rules.

New regulation will be a ‘material change’ for councils in managing data-sharing – Photo credit: Pixabay

The project, advertised on the CC2i platform – which helps organisations collaborate and co-fund public service design – aims to trial a new digital service called Consentua and create a communal “cookbook” for the adoption of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The GDPR, which comes into force at the end of May 2018, will require local authorities that use personal data to deliver services to obtain and manage a variety of differently-informed consents from a large number of people on an ongoing basis.

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This marks a “material change” for councils, CC2i said, adding that the most sensible solution would be one simple system that manages individuals’ consents and can be used by many local public bodies.

“In the digital era this means the solution must be an easy to use online service that engenders and assures transparency and trust for both the individual data subjects and organisations’ data managers,” CC2i said.

“A common shared assessment of impact would help to implement best practice, with reduced duplication and shared costs. To do this, the establishment of a common framework to GDPR adoption – for all to share – is step one,” CC2i said.

It added that pooling the knowledge of service providers, architects and data experts would “save substantial duplication across local authorities”.

The project is being led by KnowNow, a company specialising in data analytics and management. Its co-founder Chris Cooper said that the aim was to create “a unique, publicly owned document” that sets out the challenges of managing personal data and creating an internal framework for information sharing.

In addition to this “cookbook”, as it is described in the project outline, KnowNow wants to pilot a digital service called Consentua that councils will be able to use to keep track of how personal data is used by apps or systems.

The cloud-hosted service – which won’t hold any of the personal data itself – will offer an “audit trail of consent” for both the citizens and the organisation that is being granted consent.

CC2i said that it would allow people to control how their data is used and help organisations manage consent processes, and could be tailored to each different council’s needs.

The project proposal details the working plan, which includes 100 working days for the core analysis and 25 days to tailor the necessary application programming interfaces.

The team are looking for between five and 10 local authorities to work on the project, with the costs per council expected to fall from £30,000 each with five involved to £20,000 if 10 joined in.

Any council joining the project early on in the consultation process would be offered early adopter status for the resulting digital service at a reduced cost, CC2i said.

The idea is being backed by Socitm, the representative body for IT professionals in the public sector, which said that it aligned with its efforts to encourage councils to “simplify, standardise, share” service design.


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