On the day that Tory MPs vote on a new leader, with the Home Secretary who tore up an ID card on her first day in office in the lead, the Government has introduced legislation to bring the database state back via the side door.
s38 of the Digital Economy Bill may require sharing of births, marriages, and deaths across the public sector in bulk without individual consent.
s29 as written allows sharing of medical information to anywhere in the public sector, or commercial companies providing public services, if it may increase “contribution to society”.
The National Data Guardian is not placed on a statutory footing.
As the Conservative leadership election moves forward, it seems to be that the database state is back.
update: The Cabinet Office have been in touch to say:
Para 18 of the government response clearly states:
18. The Government acknowledges the importance of health and social care data in multi-agency preventative approaches and early intervention to prevent harm. We will do further work with the National Data Guardian following the publication of her review/report to consider how health data is best shared in line with her recommendations.
As a result health bodies are out of scope of the powers in the draft regulations.
The Bill itself contains no such exclusion, and many local authorities have been lobbying for precisely that access. We will look to clarify with a probing amendment at committee stage, but appreciate the press office getting in touch.