The ICO exists to empower you through information.

What is meant by ‘public benefit’?

As a public authority, we consider it important that the organisations we work with in the Sandbox can demonstrate how their product or service may benefit the public.

We interpret this broadly to include any positive benefit to the public, with no form of benefit being more valued than any other (eg health and wellbeing or financial). We also consider public benefit to cover business benefit in terms of ‘back-office’ solutions. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that the ultimate benefit to the public is articulated (eg in efficiency savings).

In assessing public benefit, we will consider the potential depth (the amount of benefit experienced) and breadth (the volume of people benefiting) of your product or service, using the assessment criteria indicators provided as a threshold alongside the other criteria and factors listed.

This will not be a mechanistic assessment and products or services do not need to display lots of breadth and depth. Making a significant difference to a small number of individuals will be considered just as valuable as making a small difference to a lot. Only products with no obvious breadth or depth of public benefit will not be considered.

We will discuss the public benefits of your proposal further, if you are invited for an engagement call, following a submission of your Expression of Interest. We will also ask you to provide some further qualitative and quantitative evidence to demonstrate what potential benefits you foresee your product or service contributing to in the final application form. Please note, this application form will not be available to organisations until after the engagement call.

How will the ICO manage conflicts of interest?

We intend to mitigate any conflicts of interest that may arise from the following:

  • The applicant organisation employing former ICO staff members.
  • The applicant organisation having any close relationships (family members, close friends) with individual members of the Sandbox team or the assessment panel.

Where this is the case, we will appraise these risks and consider whether additional safeguards are required on a case-by-case basis.

ICO staff adhere to the ICO’s code of conduct, which requires all staff to conduct themselves with integrity, impartiality, objectivity and honesty, and prohibits staff from using their official position to further private interests or the interests of others.