General

Working Group 4 Terms of Reference

Last updated: 12 August 2020

Science Council Working Group on Data Usage and Digital Technology (WG4) Terms of Reference

Background

Science Council Work Programme

  • The Council considered ideas for its future work programme, beyond the first three Working Groups, at its second and third meetings on 13 December 2017 and 27 June 2018. Data usage and digital technology are thought by Members to be priority areas for consideration.
  • The FSA General Advisory Committee on Science (now closed) provided recommendations to the FSA on ‘Data Exploitation’ in March 2014; GACS 13-5 WG on data exploitation. As that report acknowledged, the data landscape is fast moving and rapidly evolving; and both technology and the FSA are now in a different position to when that report was produced.
  • Early indications suggest that the dynamic data environment is a significant consideration in the Science Council Working Group 3 food system foresight project. For example, global food supply chains are becoming longer and more complex, and the vectors by which foods reaches consumers are becoming more heterogeneous and reliant on digital communication, points of sale and records.
  • The CSA and Science Council Chair commissioned Council member; Professor Patrick Wolfe to present a steering paper to the Council’s third open meeting, to frame a discussion around the potential of a future Council Working Group on data. At this meeting the Council agreed in principle the plans for setting up a new Working Group, subject to the FSA formally commissioning the work1.
  • These Terms of Reference set out the scope for a Working Group in this area and the approach it will take.

FSA work to date

  • The FSA has recently delivered a range of innovative data projects as part of our current data strategy including;
  • The FSA wishes to better understand the next phase of technology developments, recognising future challenges and opportunities, and having sufficient understanding of them to be able to ensure positive governance of the food system. This includes identifying the people or groups the FSA should be learning from and/or working with. The Science Council believes it can support this endeavour.

Questions, Approach and Outputs

Questions for the Working Group

  • The WG will consider the following questions and provide a report setting out its analysis, conclusions and recommendations for the FSA;
    • Over the next 2-5 years, what are likely to be the emerging data tools, techniques and technologies which could have the greatest impact on the FSA’s mission, including for its Regulating Our Future programme, and what value could these add?
    • Where and how could the FSA benefit from modifying its data collection processes? What are the expected benefits of any changes?
    • What are key implications for the FSA of advancements in open data, data sharing and how should the Agency go about leveraging them (including private / industry data)?
    • How can the FSA ensure that it adopts the right controls and governance around data? This will be informed by a review of data governance and legal & regulatory frameworks for the use of data in decision making (including pre-disclosure and pre-disposition in relation to machine 4 https://www.food.gov.uk/news-alerts/search/alerts

Approach

Phase 1 (by May 2019)

  • Consider the FSA’s current use of technologies and data, understanding and identifying any obvious gaps or room for improvement.
  • Identify who are the people or groups the FSA should be learning from and/or working with.
  • Identify what additional inputs the Working Group requires (expertise/insight/commentary).
  • Consider if there is a need for the Working Group to commission advice or research to inform its work, scope this work.
  • Agree approach to Phase 2

Phase 2 (by September 2019)

  • Develop insight, analysis and conclusions for the four Working Group questions.
  • Identify what are likely to be the emerging data tools, techniques and technologies of the next 2-5 years which could have the greatest impact on the FSA’s mission, and what value could these add?
  • Consider what are the key implications for the FSA of advancements in open data, data sharing?
  • Consider how can the FSA ensure that it adopts the right data governance and legal & regulatory frameworks for the use of data, including ethical use?
  • Advise on what are the options for the FSA to better understand and respond to the most significant issues?
  • Consider how might the FSA appropriately support or encourage private sector or governmental adoption/adjustment thereof?
  • Consider how can the FSA assess and review its priorities?

Anticipated Outputs

  • It is anticipated that Working Group 4 will provide recommendations in the form of principles on best practice or codes of practice, and identification of areas the FSA may wish to dedicate further attention, including through the commissioning of subsequent work/advice and through working with others.

Working Group 4 Timeline

  • It is currently anticipated that Working Group 4 will launch in the 4th quarter of 2018 and hand over final outputs following the Council meeting in September 2019.

Working Group 4 Membership

  • In line with the approach agreed at the Science Council’s third meeting, it is envisioned that all Science Council members will participate in Working Group 4, which will be chaired by Professor Patrick Wolfe and supported by a steering group.
  • The secretariat will be further supported by the FSA leads for data and digital technology.

Science Council

  • Patrick Wolfe (WG4 Chair)
  • Sandy Thomas (Science Council Chair)
  • Paul Turner
  • Sarah O’Brien
  • John O’Brien
  • Mark Rolfe
  • Laura Green
  • Mark Woolhouse

Secretariat

  • Patrick Miller
  • Ben Goodall
  • Michael Ginn

FSA

  • Guy Poppy; CSA
  • Julie Pierce; Director of Openness, Data and Digital
  • Sian Thomas; Head of Information Management