English Law Commission Report on Data Sharing Between Public Bodies
The Commission is asking the UK government to launch a full-scale, UK-wide law reform project by the Law Commission of England and Wales, together with the Scottish Law Commission and the Northern Ireland Law Commission, to map the many statutory provisions that permit and control data sharing, simplify and clarify the law so that it is easier to understand and use, and bring the law up to date:
"The law surrounding data sharing is complex. Powers to share data are scattered across a very large number of statutes and may be set out expressly or implied. In addition, there are common law powers."
"In this scoping project we considered the following questions:
"We consider that the project could usefully include consideration of the functions of the Information Commissioner in relation to data sharing, including the Commissioner’s enforcement role. The work of other bodies providing advice and guidance should be explored to improve the consistent application of data sharing law across government and in public service delivery more widely."
- Are there hurdles to effective data sharing between public bodies (including private bodies engaged in public service delivery)?
- Are those hurdles inappropriate?
- How far do problems in data sharing stem from the law?
- How far do problems in data sharing stem from other causes, such as a lack of training or guidance, organisational incentives and disincentives?
- Would law reform solve or mitigate the problems? (...)"
"The investigation should also include consideration of 'soft law' solutions such as codes of practice, as well as advice and guidance, training of staff, and ways of sharing best practice in the management of data sharing between public bodies."