UK Digital Strategy submissions - data sharing / labour market data

Richard Pope,

The UK government is asking for ideas from the public towards its digital strategy. I've submitted the following 2:

Labour market data and job vacancies

As recent research by Citizens Advice has demonstrated, the quality of job adverts in the UK is poor and this has a negative effect on job-seekers (applying for unsuitable jobs, unable to find suitable jobs) and employers (processing unsuitable applications):

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Work Publications/JobadvertsrecommendationsFINAL.pdf

In addition to vacancy information, the supporting labour market datasets - such as lists of job categories, skills, qualifications and employer demand - are published infrequently and at low resolution. For example, the ONS Standard Occupational Classification is updated every 10 years and was last published in 2010, so any new job-types created in the last 5 years will be missing.

All this makes it harder for both government and the private sector to build better tools to help people find work.

The digital strategy should include commitments to:

  1. Encourage the adoption of the schema.org jobPosting standard for publishing job adverts. The government should do this by mandating that all public sector jobs are advertised in accordance with the standard, and work with large employers who maintain their own job-listing websites (supermarkets, hotels etc) to implement the standard in the public sector.

  2. Seek to make labour market information higher-resolution and higher frequency. It Government should review the current labour market datasets and see how they can be improved. It should work with job vacancy aggregators and Jobcentre Plus to create new real-time public datasets about labour market demand, skills and job-types.

Personal data sharing

The MI Data initiative has begun to create a healthy UK data economy where citizens can understand the data that is held about them by government, business and charities, and download it for reuse.

The next government digital strategy should continue and extend adoption of MI Data.

In addition, there is a component missing from our national data infrastructure: tools and standards for managing and sharing that personal data that are understood and trusted by citizens.

For example - as well as being able to download their energy usage data, citizens should be able to delegate access to third parties in a way that enables new business models while protecting their privacy.

The increasing quantities of data generated by internet-of-things devices and growing public concern about personal data and privacy will only make this more of a priority.

The digital strategy should include commitments to:

  1. Commission and publish research on user-interface design patterns for sharing personal data (so it can advise business on best practice and adopt them for government services).
  2. Create an independent institution for certifying best practice design/security for sharing personal data
  3. Create a fund for startups focused on personal data-stores and trusted personal data markets