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Digital ethics collection | Article

Emerging guidance

The UK and its partners are playing a leading role in the development of guidance on the ethical use of emerging technologies and data. This section collates the various emerging ethical practice guidance resources developed by government, public sector bodies and wider organisations. It focuses on the ethical aspects of technological design and use, together with the ethical impacts of digital technology on society as whole.

Ethics by design

These focus on ethical guidance materials that support the design phase of the use of emerging technologies and data analytics:

Data Ethics Framework – Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Government Digital Service (GDS)

The Data Ethics Framework guides appropriate and responsible data use in government and the wider public sector. It helps public servants understand ethical considerations, address these within their projects, and encourages responsible innovation.

Who is it for?

For anyone working directly or indirectly with data in the public sector, including data practitioners (statisticians, analysts and data scientists), policymakers, operational staff and those helping produce data-informed insight, to ensure the highest ethical standard of their projects.

A guide to using AI in the public sector – Office for AI, Government Digital Service and the Alan Turing Institute

The guide to using AI in the public sector is a guide on how to choose, build and use AI in the public sector to ensure that government is maximising the benefits of such technology.

Who is it for?

For public servants deciding whether AI is the right solution in their project and looking for information on how to use AI safely and ethically.

AI procurement guidelines – Office for AI and World Economic Forum

The AI procurement guidelines address the ethical uncertainty around AI procurement so that officials feel equipped to use innovative technology whilst being able to mitigate risks.

Who is it for?

For public servants and commercial specialists procuring AI. The guidelines set a baseline for the harmonisation of AI procurement standards.

UKSA Self-assessmentUK Statistics Authority

The UK Statistical Authority’s self-assessment aims to offer researchers an easy-to-use framework to review the ethics of their projects throughout the research cycle. The self-assessment provides a timely means to identify ethical issues and shape future discussions. The process aims to support an accurate and consistent estimation of the ethical risk of research proposals.

Who is it for?

For public servants creating statistical research projects.

NHSX: A Buyer’s Guide for AI in Health and Care – NHSX

The Buyer’s Checklist for AI in Health and Social Care is a short reference checklist to assist the decision-making of those responsible for procuring AI solutions in their organisations.

Who is it for?

For procurement officials working in health and social care; for chief finance officers, service transformation and commissioning leads, in-house data scientists and analysts and other chief officers considering procurement of AI solutions.

Intelligent security toolsNational Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

The NCSC’s intelligent security tools provide guidance on using AI tools in the security sector. Consideration of intelligent security tools is divided into four sections, each with a series of questions designed to aid users.

Who is it for?

For public servants looking to use an off the shelf security tool that employs AI as a core component. It may also be of use to those developing in-house AI security tools or when considering AI for some non-security business function.

Analytical Quality Assurance Book (AQuA) – Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT)

The Aqua Book is a good practice guide on analysis and analytical models. It was created by a cross-departmental working group on analytical quality assurance.

Who is it for?

For those working with analysis and analytical models.

Service Standard – Service Manual – Government Digital Service (GDS)

The Service Standard is a 14-point manual to helps teams to create and run great public services. The Service Manual focuses on user needs, as well as the team involved in the project and how to create the service.

Who is it for?

For public servants creating public services using data and AI.

Data Ethics Canvas –  Open Data Institute

The Data Ethics Canvas helps identify and manage ethical issues – at the start of a project that uses data, and throughout. It encourages you to ask important questions about projects that use data and to reflect on the responses.

Who is it for?

For anyone working directly or indirectly with data in the public sector, including data practitioners (statisticians, analysts and data scientists), policymakers, operational staff and those helping produce data-informed insight, to ensure the highest ethical standard of their projects.

Understanding artificial intelligence ethics and safety –  Alan Turing Institute

A guide for the responsible design and implementation of AI systems in the public sector.

Who is it for?

For everyone involved in the design, production, and deployment of a public sector AI project: from data scientists and data engineers to domain experts, delivery managers and departmental leads.

Guidebook of data literacy toolsData Justice Lab

The guide provides an overview of different types of tools that aim at educating citizens about datafication and its social consequences.

Who is it for?

Guidebook of data literacy tools for anyone working directly or indirectly with data in the public sector, including data practitioners (statisticians, analysts and data scientists), policymakers, operational staff and those helping produce data-informed insight, to ensure the highest ethical standard of their projects.

Consequence Scanning Manual – Doteveryone.org.uk

It introduces Consequence Scanning – an iterative development tool to help organisations think about the potential impact of their solutions or service on people and society.

Who is it for?

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of public sector digital and data solutions or services.

A Guide for Ethical Data Science – Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)

It is intended to complement existing ethical and professional guidance and is aimed at addressing the ethical and professional challenges of working in a data science setting.

Who is it for?

For professionals and officials working in the area of data science.

ICO Accountability Framework – Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The framework is divided into 10 categories and contains expectations and examples of how your organisation can demonstrate your accountability.

Who is it for?

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners – accountability is one of the key principles in data protection law – it makes you responsible for complying with the legislation and says that you must be able to demonstrate your compliance.

Using predictive analytics in local public services – Local Government Association

Research paper outlining where are councils now in the use of predictive analytics, the Risks and challenges of predictive analytics and a Practical guide for data teams and decision makers.

Who is it for?

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across local government with a focus on those working with analysis and analytical models.

Examining the Black Box – Ada Lovelace Institute

Guidance note on the looking at the issue of algorithmic systems becoming more critical to decision making across many parts of society, there is increasing interest in how they can be scrutinised and assessed for societal impact, and regulatory and normative compliance.

Who is it for?

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of public sector digital and data solutions or services.

How do we make algorithms do the right thing? – British Computer Society

An analysis how principles of openness, accountability and objectivity can be embedded in algorithms that make high-stakes judgements about people

Who is it for?

For professionals and officials working in the area of data science.

Ethical AI Procurement – Crown Commercial Service

CCS Guide on discovery and consultancy services related to artificial intelligence (AI), implementation and support of AI systems, end-to-end partnerships and AI technologies in health and care.

Who is it for?

For public servants and commercial specialists procuring AI. The guidelines set a baseline for the harmonisation of AI procurement standards.

Ethics into practice: Steps to navigate emerging ethical issues – CBI

CBI 3-fold guide to AI ethics – Embed: Put ethics at the core of your approach to AI, Engage: Empower your workforce when it comes to AI and Explain: Engage customers and the public on AI.

Who is it for?

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across central government and the wider public and private sectors.

Assessment List for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (ALTAI) for self-assessment – High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG)

The tool supports the actionability the key requirements outlined by the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Who is it for?

For public servants deciding whether AI is the right solution in their project and looking for information on how to use AI safely and ethically.

Understanding Cyber Emergency Response –  Think Cyber Think Resilience

Cyber Emergency Response: Understanding the role of a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) in support8ng local cyber resilience.

Who is it for?

For leaders, policy makers, technology professionals and officials working in the areas cyber security and community/organisational resilience.

Ethics of use

This focuses on ethical guidance materials about how emerging technologies and data analytics can be used at an operational level to deliver services and solutions:

Artificial Intelligence and Public StandardsCommittee on Standards in Public Life

CSPL report and recommendations to government to ensure that high standards of conduct are upheld as technologically assisted decision making is adopted more widely across the public sector.

Who is it for?

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across central government and the wider public and private sectors.

Guidance on AI and Data-ProtectionInformation Commissioner’s Office

Guidance to helps organisation mitigate the risks specifically arising from a data protection perspective, explaining how data protection principles apply to AI projects without losing sight of the benefits such projects can deliver.

Who is it for?

For everyone involved in the design, production, and deployment of a public sector AI and Big Data projects: from data scientists and data engineers to domain experts, delivery managers and departmental leads.

Ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI – High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI HLEG)

EU Guidelines, that defines trustworthy AI as being (1) lawful – respecting all applicable laws and regulations (2) ethical – respecting ethical principles and values and (3) robust – both from a technical perspective and taking into account its social environment.

Who is it for?

For public servants deciding whether AI is the right solution in their project and looking for information on how to use AI safely and ethically.

Code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology– Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)

The code of conduct is a guide that tackles a number of emerging ethical challenges associated with the use of data-driven technologies in the NHS and the wider health and care system. It applies data ethics to the specific sensitivities and challenges of the health care system. The code of conduct aims to ensure that the NHS capitalises on the possible technical benefits for users and staff.

Who is it for?

For public servants involved in health-care specific projects who are considering the use of data-driven technologies in their work.

The Dstl Biscuit BookDefence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

The Biscuit Book explains some of the most common terminology in artificial intelligence and data science in an informative and accessible way. The guide is arranged as a series of easily digestible chunks that each cover a topic in a manner that provides the essential information without being too technical.

Who is it for?

For public servants looking for a non-technical, easily-digestible guide to AI, data science and machine learning.

Building Blocks for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

The briefing aims to provide a framework for thinking about AI and Autonomy from a system perspective, and to provide some practical questions you should consider when undertaking AI and Autonomy projects.

Who is it for?

For public servants looking for a non-technical, easily digestible guide to AI and Autonomy projects.

Digital Ethics Charter – Midlands Accord and East Accord

The Digital Ethics Charter is a set of common principles that digital professionals and those working with “technology for public use” can adhere to.

Who is it for?

Professionals working in health and social care.

Creating City PortraitsDoughnut Economics Action Lab

The guide sets out the DEAL City Portrait methodology to all who are interested in downscaling the Doughnut to their city or place.

Who is it for?

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of civic sector digital and data solutions or services.

Applied AI – ethics typology – Digital Catapult

Supporting the application of AI ethics through a typology of principles, tools and resources and services.

Who is it for?

To help AI developers build value-aligned products.

Building Digitally Inclusive CommunitiesInternational City/County Management Association and partners

Model framework for people, businesses, and institutions will have access to digital content and technologies that enable them to create and support healthy, prosperous, and cohesive 21st-century communities.

Who is it for?

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across central government and the wider public and private sectors.

Digital tools against Covid-19: taxonomy, ethical challenges, and navigation aidLancet Digital Health

Typology of the primary digital public health applications that are in use. These include proximity and contact tracing, symptom monitoring, quarantine control, and flow modelling. For each, we discuss context-specific risks, cross-sectional issues, and ethical concerns.

Who is it for?

Professionals working in health and social care.

Artificial intelligence ethics guidelines for developers and usersProject Sherpa Team

The purpose of this paper is clearly the convergence and the prescriptive recommendations arising from research into the ethical consequences of artificial intelligence (AI). This is reflected by many outputs across academia, policy and the media. Many of these outputs aim to provide guidance to particular stakeholder groups.

Who is it for?

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of civic sector digital and data solutions or services.

How to put AI ethics into practice: a 12-step guide World Economic Forum

Outlines key considerations for the design of risk/benefit assessment frameworks – Building on the existing literature, we have co-designed guidelines to support organizations that are interested in designing auditable AI systems through sound risk/benefit assessment frameworks.

Who is it for?

For public servants deciding whether AI is the right solution in their project and looking for information on how to use AI safely and ethically.

OECD principles on AIOECD

The five values-based OECD principles on AI promote artificial intelligence (AI) that is innovative and trustworthy and that respects human rights and democratic values. They were adopted in May 2019 by OECD member countries (including the UK).

Who is it for?

For policymakers working in data, AI, and international relations.

OPSI Primer on AI for the Public SectorObservatory of Public Service Innovation

A guidance primer to equip public servants with tools and resources that can help them in exploring AI through a technical explainer, mapping of public sector landscape looking at implications for governance and emerging guidance.

Who is it for?

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of civic sector digital and data solutions or services.

Civic Cyber Resilience ModelThink Cyber Think Resilience

Civic Cyber Resilience Model (CCRM) developed by the Think Cyber Think Resilience initiative in conjunction with the wider National Cyber Security Programme sets out the strategic headlines and provides relevant prompts for the actions civic organisations need to consider in devising their own cyber resilience strategy.

Who is it for?

For leaders, policy makers, professionals and officials working in the areas cyber security and community/organisational resilience.

Societal ethics

These outlines sources on ethical guidance materials that examine the impacts of emerging technologies and data analytics on wider society.

National Data StrategyDepartment for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)

The National Data Strategy (NDS) is an ambitious, pro-growth strategy that aims to drive the UK in building a world-leading data economy while ensuring public trust in data use.

For anyone working directly or indirectly with data in the public sector.

The Magenta Book – Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT)

The Magenta Book provides guidance on evaluation in government. It focuses on the scoping, design, conduct, use and dissemination of evaluations as well as the capabilities required of government evaluators. It provides guidance on how to incorporate evaluation through the design, implementation, delivery and review stages of policy making. It also explains how results can be interpreted and presented, and what should be considered in this process.

For the policy, delivery and analytical professions, all of which are responsible for securing and using good evidence.

Digital Ethics Review – TechUK

Policy paper which aims to help ensure that digital ethics is regarded as relevant and beneficial to the real lives people lead.

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across the public and private sector.

Decision-making in the Age of the Algorithm – NESTA

A guide for public sector organisations on how to introduce Artificial Intelligence tools so that they are embraced and used wisely by practitioners.

For those working with analysis and analytical models.

Addressing trust in public sector data use – Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation

Independent report on Addressing Trust in Public Sector Data Use which includes a framework for building trust with the public based on five questions about ‘value’, ‘security’, ‘accountability’, ‘transparency’, and ‘control’.

For professionals and officials working in the area of data science.

Social Sector Data Maturity Framework – thefutureworldofwork.org

The framework looks at the defining the maturity levels of organisational data harnessing culture.

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of civic sector digital and data solutions or services.

Ensuring data and AI work for people and societyAda Lovelace Institute

Outline of how the Institute can help organisations. Build evidence and foster rigorous research and debate on how data and AI affect people and society. Convene diverse voices to create a shared understanding of the ethical issues arising from data and AI. And define and inform good practice in the design and deployment of data and AI.

Leaders, policy makers and practitioners across central government and the wider public and private sectors.

Rethinking Data – Ada Lovelace Institute

Outline of how all actors in society must now consider:

  • how data might narrow inequalities, rather than widen them
  • how data might tackle power imbalances, rather than entrench them
  • how data might help us address the global issues of resource allocation, climate change and migration, rather than exacerbate them.

For anyone working directly or indirectly with data in the public sector, including data practitioners (statisticians, analysts and data scientists), policymakers, operational staff and those helping produce data-informed insight, to ensure the highest ethical standard of their projects.

UK data governance explainer – Royal Society

This explainer also provides a brief introduction to how different kinds of governance and advisory organisations address key areas in data governance, such as data ethics, data privacy and anonymisation, data-sharing and data interoperability, data protection and security, and responsible innovation, as well as some key resources for further engagement with these areas.

For the policy, delivery and analytical professions, all of which are responsible for securing and using good evidence.

Ethical and societal implications of algorithms, data, and artificial intelligence: a roadmap for research – Nuffield Foundation

This briefing summarises a roadmap for research on the ethical and societal implications of algorithms, data and AI (ADA).

It is aimed at those involved in planning, funding, and pursuing research and policy work related to these technologies

Tackling threats to informed decision making in democratic societiesLeverhulme Trust and Alan Turing Institute

Guidance on how the access to reliable information is crucial to the ability of a democratic society to coordinate effective collective action, especially when responding to crises such as global pandemics, and complex challenges such as climate change. It defines an epistemically secure society as one that reliably averts threats to the processes by which reliable information is produced, distributed, acquired and assessed within the society.

For public servants looking to use an off the shelf security tool that employs AI as a core component. It may also be of use to those developing in-house AI security tools or when considering AI for some non-security business function.

The Art of Change Making – Leadership Centre

A collection of theories, approaches, tools and techniques for understanding the complex interactions between people and organisations and how to intervene to create meaningful change. These are used by current practitioners in developing systems leadership.

For anyone directly or indirectly involved with the design of civic sector digital and data solutions or services.

G20 AI principlesG20

The G20 AI principles draw from and agree with the OECD principles and recommendations.

For policymakers working in data, AI, and international relations.

Building Resilience TogetherThink Cyber Think Resilience

Guidance and resources supporting cyber resilience capability building across the local public services and resilience organisations.

For leaders, policy makers, professionals and officials working in the areas cyber security cyber security and community/organisational resilience.