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Encouraging inter-regulator data sharing: the perceptions of regulators

posted on 2023-07-26, 16:52 authored by Paul Sanderson, Daniel Banks, Simon Deakin, Chihiro Udagawa
This report was commissioned by the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) as part of a programme of work aimed at promoting greater sharing of business data between regulatory organisations. The research on which this report is based investigated the perceptions of regulators on the subject – i.e. their views on what promotes or inhibits data sharing. Findings and recommendations are summarised below: • There is a distinct gulf between large data-rich and small data-poor regulatory organisations. The former have the power to acquire the data they need and tend to question whether the benefits warrant the costs involved in sharing data with others. • Inequalities between the data-rich and data-poor could potentially be reduced if a codified duty and power for regulatory organisations to share data was introduced - incorporating ideally the comply-or-explain principle, to allow for operational flexibility and to avoid the need for legislation to address existing prohibitions. • Successful inter-regulator data sharing relationships are typically built upon pre- existing social and organisational networks. Regulatory organisations should consider where they have such resources and how these could be utilised to increase data-sharing where potential social and economic benefits can be shown to exist. • Type of data is critical. Technical and legal considerations make data-mining of shared datasets of even simple factual information more resource-intensive than sharing discrete intelligence on criminal noncompliance - the latter benefits from Data Protection Act exemptions and the well-established networks of regulatory intelligence staff. • Constraints on data sharing arise in part from the operation of the legal and regulatory regime governing data protection. Problems include uncertainty, complexity, and disproportionality of sanctions. A particular issue is the way the Data Protection Act overlaps with, or sometimes cuts across, statutes applying to specific public bodies. • A perception that the sanctions available under the Data Protection Act are disproportionate to the objectives of the legislation appears to be having a chilling effect on data sharing between public bodies. • A ‘National Data Strategy’, recommended in the Shakespeare Review, could help break down technical barriers to data sharing focusing perhaps on encouraging joint working on data sourcing and mandatory publication of data catalogues, as well as consideration of a new public sector data sharing standard. • Some government departments already take a lead in supporting data-sharing amongst their reporting organisations. This is helpful as realising the potential benefits from increased data sharing requires such support, particularly to overcome technology issues which disproportionately affect smaller, data-poor organisations.



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University of Cambridge

Place of publication

Cambridge, UK


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Report type

  • Technical Report

Legacy posted date


Legacy Faculty/School/Department

ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)/Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research

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