In autumn of last year, the Law Commission launched its Consultation into data sharing between public bodies. If you haven’t read it before, you can preview and download the document at the end of this post.

Scoping exercise

Law Commission

Unlike other consultations, this one was a scoping exercise, aiming to investigate ‘the root causes of the reported obstacles to data sharing between public bodies.’

Collection of personal data, and transfer of such data from one public sector body to another, within a public sector body, or to the private sector can be of fundamental importance to the successful delivery of public services, the identification of risk, and to the development of innovative digital products that use amalgamated anonymised data.  In healthcare and safeguarding fields, for instance, data sharing can be vital for monitoring quality, detecting abuses and for research purposes.

Low public acceptance

Yet, as identified by the Law Commission, ‘a low public acceptance of data sharing and a low level of trust in the way it is undertaken by public services, along with negative media coverage’ may create hindrances to sharing.

Review after review continues to criticise the lack of robustness in data sharing arrangements between public bodies.  To take one example, the Serious Case Review into the abuse committed against vulnerable adults at the Winterbourne View Care Home noted that drawing together all the information held by various public bodies and by the private owner of the home, together with complaints from patients and parents, would have identified the risks to which patients at Winterbourne View were subject.

Data sharing seminar

On 1st July, the Centre for Information Rights at the University of Winchester will be hosting a seminar focussing on the results of the Law Commission’s data sharing consultation.

Centre for Information Rights data sharingPublic Law Commissioner, Nicholas Paines QC will be speaking about the Commission’s findings and the possibilities for reform, and there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion with Nicholas and members of the Law Commission public law team.

Who should attend?

This seminar will be of particular interest to public sector organisations, private sector organisations that work with the public sector, health and social care professionals, lawyers, digital innovators and information professionals.

The event is free but booking is essential: to book please click here.  Registration and refreshments start at 3.30pm.


This event is accredited under the Solicitors Regulation Authority CPD scheme: Code FKF/DLUW

Marion Oswald, Head of the Centre for Information Rights, University of Winchester


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Data sharing between public bodies
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