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Department for Education – Education Credential

The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education in England, we intend to use the concepts of decentralised identity and verified credentials to allow post-16 students within the English education system to access, control and use their own personal data when applying and enrolling into further education organisations, via the use of an education credential.

The Department for Education has carried out research that demonstrates that the process of applying for and enrolling upon a course is not as simple as it can be, for the individual students themselves, as well as for the further education organisations. The use of an education credential should make the transition and enrolment process easier for both parties in a number of different ways.

The Department for Education is entering the ICO sandbox in order to ensure that the concept of privacy by design is applied to the development of the education credential, to understand and consider a number of challenges posed by the use of such a credential, and to demonstrate its commitment to placing data protection and privacy at the heart of its use of a novel and emerging technology.

Taking part in the regulatory sandbox will allow the Department for Education to approach and explore some key data protection and privacy areas with the support and engagement of the ICOs expertise and advice, to ensure that the privacy of users of the education credential is maintained at all times. Whilst clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the number of different parties involved in the credential’s lifecycle.

The Department for Education believes that participation in the sandbox will significantly contribute to the development of a service that will be of real value to the public.

Entered: November 2023

West Yorkshire Police – Domestic Abuse Assessment Tool

West Yorkshire Police is pleased to be entering the Sandbox as we are in the process of developing a Domestic Abuse Assessment Tool that explores the feasibility of using emerging supervised machine learning technology to enhance the completion of risk assessments at domestic abuse incidents by Police Officers and to help them make the best decisions.  We are trying to identify if this tool will help us to reduce the number of domestic abuse offences that are committed as well as trying to predict whether or not any serious harm offences may occur in the next 12 months. The intention is for Police Officers and frontline staff to be able to use this technology to identify cases where escalation may occur so that working with partner organisations an early wrap around service can be put in place to support families and prevent the situation from getting worse. 

This is a groundbreaking idea and way of working and West Yorkshire Police want to ensure that they comply with any data protection requirements and that they can identify any potential concerns at an early stage and rectify them in a transparent and fair way.  It is hoped that being involved in the Sandbox will allow West Yorkshire Police to be as transparent as possible about this process and involve people in the consultation who may have concerns about it.  It is hoped that the ICO will support West Yorkshire Police in achieving this by offering advice, support and assistance along with an independent view to ensure that they work within the law and in an open way that is explainable to the wider public.

West Yorkshire Police believe that there is the possibility of enormous public benefit from this work.  They believe that the number of domestic murders could be reduced, and that the number of domestic abuse incidents that escalate to serious levels can be reduced, whilst providing targeted support to victims, offenders and their families by identifying those that are in most need.  West Yorkshire Police also believe that this could have a knock-on effect to other services, for example the NHS who would not be required to treat as many people who are injured in this way, and also schools who support children who may have witnessed or been involved in the domestic abuse.

Entered: March 2024

Cancer Awareness Trust – Cancer Platform

Cancer Awareness Trust have entered the Sandbox to build ‘Cancer Platform’. A free-to-use digital tool, Cancer Platform will enable everyone to navigate cancer empowered with expert knowledge and truth. It will support anyone impacted by cancer from prevention, through to diagnosis and treatment, transforming cancer outcomes for all. Data is fundamental to Cancer Platform’s impact and central to delivering genuine change that deepens connections and collaboration across the cancer sector’s leaders and organisations. Working with the ICO Sandbox, Cancer Awareness Trust will explore the data protection challenges underlying data sharing, including genomic information, and processing by artificial intelligence.

Entered: April 2024