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Creating public engagement standards for automated decision-making

A stylised image of a brain shown as part of an electrical circuit board

Increasingly algorithms are being used to automate decision-making in the public sector. Sometimes they are used to support humans to make final decisions, sometimes decision-making is entirely automated.

These systems can bring benefits, but they also come with risks so it’s important that these systems are used in an appropriate way.

We believe that public engagement, and accountability to the public, will be important parts of:

  • ensuring that automated decision-making systems are used appropriately; and
  • ensuring that the public can have confidence and trust that this is the case.

What are we doing about this?

We are working on a new project in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop a set of principles that can help embed strong public engagement and accountability around the use of automated decision-making systems in the public sector. We hope this will both:

  • support the practice of those within the public sector; and
  • provide a resource that those outside the public sector can use to ensure appropriate standards of public engagement and accountability.

How can you get involved?

We will be carrying out workshops and interviews to understand the needs of those who will be using the resource.

We would like to hear from:

  • people who are working on public engagement, automated decision-making and/or the intersection between these two topics in the public sector,
  • people working in the third sector who are interested in how public engagement is used to ensure automated decision-making systems are used appropriately, and
  • anyone who can help us learn more about the use of public engagement to ensure automatic decision-making is being used appropriately.

If you’d like to take part please sign-up for one of the following workshops. We have designed some sessions for people working in the public sector, and some for those outside the public sector, and are running a mixture of online and offline sessions.

Following these events we will be creating a first draft set of principles, based on what we hear and will share this back with people who sign up to these workshops for their feedback. We will then develop a final version which we will share at an online lunchtime launch even on Friday 22nd March. Please note the plan for this final event has changed so please make sure you have up to date details.

Alternatively, if you’d like to share your views through a short interview or just want to find out more information, feel free to email our team. We look forward to hearing from you.

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