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Report: Improving Data Access in Regulated Sectors

People, process and technology key to data innovation progress

London, 21st July 2021: The ability to innovate with data will only be achievable through increasing industry understanding, process improvement and technology advancements. That is the key finding in a new report from the Open Data Institute (ODI), which looked at data and information access and innovation in the banking, accounting and legal sectors.

Commissioned by knowledge-tech company RegulAItion, the report Improving data access in regulated sectors noted, as awareness and understanding of data innovation grows, so too does organisational appetite for implementing change. The study says greater industry capabilities (including hiring for data scientist roles and upskilling), better processes for data access and sharing, and the introduction of privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) to enable innovation without compromising privacy or security, are each required to realise change.

The report also noted that, while innovation and regulation are often considered to be at odds with each other, the reverse is actually true – government, regulators and industry bodies are all encouraging innovation in the data access space.

To help these bodies navigate their way to a more open approach to data access, the report provides five recommendations:

  1. Run data innovation programmes: Initiatives like the Digital sandbox pilot: FCA DataSprint can help facilitate open innovation around data access, PETs, and AI/ML product development within specific sectors. Data availability mechanisms should be built into the design and functioning of all such sandboxes as an enduring regulatory principle.
  2. Convene a data partners framework: Bringing together relevant parties, including data providers, data intermediaries and other technology providers within their networks, can help map out current and future privacy preserving data access arrangements. These could include reusable data sharing frameworks, sector data institutions, and more openly accessible metadata on data that cannot be easily shared.
  3. Actively incubate data innovation: Fund and support work to scope and incubate businesses aiming to develop PETs to improve regulated data access, that will help organisations within a sector to share data in ways that will preserve privacy and increase trust
  4. Establish research and development proof points: Fund research and case studies around the opportunities for PETs and AI/ML to improve data access in regulated sectors
  5. Support the development of industry frameworks and skill building: Legal structures, guidance, codes of practice and training will help support ethical, legal and trustworthy sharing of data across a range of sectors. Foreground the development of both technical and non-technical data skills.

Louise Burke, Managing Director at the ODI, said “Historically, the sectors of banking, accounting and legal have been relatively change resistant when it comes to deploying data access technologies, with much of their technological investment focussed on data privacy and security instead. Yet trustworthy and sustainable data access is the underpinning factor of any healthy data ecosystem, which in turn can lead to myriad benefits and opportunities. To get to that point requires collaboration across a range of stakeholders, from both public and private sectors.”

Sally Sfeir-Tait, CEO at RegulAItion, said: “Breakthroughs have always come about through sharing and collaboration. Societies evolved and prospered by communities working to create a common purpose. It’s no different in the digital era. With the AIR Platform, it is now possible to unlock intelligence while complying with privacy regulation. Leaders in the regulated sectors have implemented data infrastructure technology, invested in their people and improved their internal processes to encourage innovation.”


Notes to editors

Improving data access in regulated sectors was researched by the Open Data Institute (ODI) and commissioned by RegulAItion. The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Next Generation Services Challenge. It was published in July 2021. The lead authors are Josh D’Addario and Arindra Das, with input from Olivier Thereaux, ODI.

To read a copy of the report, visit:

Press contact:

Jamie Ivory, Head of Technology, Performance Communications

Phone: +44 7759659323


About ODI

The ODI is a non-profit, founded in 2012 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt, with a mission to work with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem. We work with a range of organisations, governments, public bodies and civil society to create a world where data works for everyone.

About RegulAItion

RegulAItion is a Knowledge Tech company helping to unlock intelligence by reimagining the way in which organisations across the globe access data. It is developing the technology infrastructure and ecosystem for scalable, automated, repeatable and responsible AI-driven data-access.

The RegulAItion journey first began in 2017 when its team transformed the way in which regulators access data by developing the first prototype blockchain system for banks. Today it leads a cross-sector consortium of major businesses, banks, and universities to roll its privacy enhancing software platform out globally. Headquartered in London, with an international reach, the company is accelerating its expansion into the Asia financial and regulatory markets having won the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Global Fintech Hackcelerator in 2020.

About UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of our component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas. Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven research councils, Innovate UK and Research England.