It is important to communicate how data is being used in order to drive accountability but also because there is a significant lack of understanding around this. Councils need to ensure that any decisions made with data can be explained to someone with limited data literacy and to expert audiences, such as researchers and journalists.
LOTI recommends that local authorities follow the communication principles set out in the UK Algorithmic Transparency Standard. This standard outlines the two tiers of communication necessary to ensure appropriate transparency for any project that uses algorithmic tools:
Tier 1: Active, up-front communication to those most affected, with a high-level plain language description of the data use.
Tier 2: More detailed and technical information that is passively available for interested residents, as well as researchers and journalists.
As part of Camden’s Data Charter, the council worked with the Alan Turing Institute to produce case studies for non-expert citizens about how it uses data, as well as a Citizen’s Guide to Data, which explains the relevant legal, social and ethical issues behind data for any interested resident.
The South London Partnership has a map of active public realm sensors (e.g. traffic monitoring) with the location and purpose of the sensors clearly communicated.