UK public sector gets guidance on building and using Artificial Intelligence


Our team: Tim Wright


Marking the start of London Tech Week on 10 June 2019, Oliver Dowden, the Minister for Implementation, announced the launch of a new guide designed to help the government to embrace AI and an online marketplace (the Spark Dynamic Purchasing System or Spark DPS[1]) specifically intended to help tech start-ups and other SMEs selling innovative products and services to the public sector.

The AI Guide[2], announced alongside the UK government’s new Technology Innovation Strategy[3] describes how public sector bodies can best assess:

  • whether using AI will help meet user needs;
  • how to make best use of AI; and
  • how to implement AI ethically, fairly and safely.

There are already a number of frameworks for responsible and ethical AI including those from ITechLaw[4] and the Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning.[5] The new AI Guide provides for a framework which leverages the The Alan Turing Institute’s (ATI) SUM Values[6]:

  • respect the dignity of individuals
  • connect with each other sincerely, openly, and inclusively
  • care for the wellbeing of all
  • protect the priorities of social values, justice, and public interest, as well as ATI’s FAST Track Principles of fairness, accountability, sustainability and transparency.

The AI Guide was produced by the Government Digital Service, the Office for AI and the ATI. It is divided into sub-guides, a number of which will be equally useful to team members across each public sector organisation and its private sector partners working on implementing AI, including data scientists, data engineers, domain experts and delivery managers.

[1] https://www.crowncommercial.gov.uk/agreements/RM6094

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/a-guide-to-using-artificial-intelligence-in-the-public-sector

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-government-technology-innovation-strategy

[4] https://www.itechlaw.org/ResponsibleAI

[5] https://ethical.institute/rfx.html

[6] https://www.turing.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2019-06/understanding_artificial_intelligence_ethics_and_safety.pdf

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