Five organisations from a range of sectors have today joined forces to form the Public Engagement in Data Research Initiative (PEDRI), a new partnership to ensure the public are actively and consistently involved in decisions around how their data are used to inform vital research and policies that affect us all.

Those signed up to the new partnership agree that it is the responsibility of data users to regularly engage with the public to better understand their needs, let them know how their data are being used and to better understand how they would like data to be presented.

This joined-up approach to public engagement can improve the quality of data and subsequently maximise the impact of data research.

Sir Ian Diamond, National Statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said:

“Data, in all forms, are part of our daily lives and we have seen, especially during the pandemic, the vital role official statistics play in making timely decisions for the benefit of our society and the economy.

“In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the public – our most important stakeholder – is happy for us to continue collecting data from across society and will benefit from the statistics we create. That is why it’s imperative we seek out the views of the public and involve them in decisions about their data.

“We are stronger together and this new partnership will improve how everyone in the data space engages with the public. This, in turn, will increase the quality of the data available to us to address a wide range of challenges, from the rising cost of living to regional deprivation and inequality.”

The PEDRI’s initial areas of focus will be embedding public engagement best practice guidance for those working in data research and statistics, addressing resource and information gaps that prevent organisations proactively working with the public, and proactively engaging the public through local and national campaigns.

Organisations signed up to the PEDRI include the Office for National Statistics, Health Data Research UK, Admin Data Research UK, DARE UK and NHS England.

We can only succeed in our mission if all research organisations, funders and regulators unite with us. For those who are interested in joining or would like further information, please go to the Public Engagement in Data Research Initiative website.