Local authorities have to outsource certain data activities to suppliers. When procuring technologies or services, boroughs should not only look for the most efficient supplier but also assess which companies or technologies are the most ethical.
In practice, suppliers should be held accountable to the same standards as the local authority as that is the expectation of residents and the council’s commitment to them.
This might involve conditions around transparency – for example, that residents know who has their data and how it is being used when it is not the council itself (which has built-in accountability mechanisms).
As suggested in the UK Government’s guidelines for Artificial Intelligence (AI) procurement, this might require new types of procurement policies.
The city of Amsterdam (Netherlands) ensures that vendors of algorithms must comply with the requirements of transparency and fairness that the city follows.