Scottish parliamentary candidates for the forthcoming elections in May are being urged to sign up to a pledge to ‘democratise data’ as part of national post-pandemic recovery efforts.

The Data & Marketing Association Scotland is calling on candidates demonstrate their commitment to promoting sustainable growth in the digital economy and to sign-up to its seven-point plan.

The DMA’s new Democratise Data Manifesto outlines the key objectives that will support the data and marketing industry, which include promoting diversity in the workforce, plugging skills gaps and boosting international trade.

Rachel Aldighieri, the DMA’s Managing Director, said: “Following the significant impact of Covid-19 on the Scottish economy, the new parliament will have an opportunity to focus recovery efforts on the nation’s budding data economy in order to fully realise Scotland’s collective ambition of becoming the ‘data capital of Europe’.

“With the newly launched National AI Strategy for Scotland and the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) programme, the Scottish Government has taken important steps to securing Scotland’s future as a data and digital powerhouse. To build on this work and realise the full potential of these investments, Scotland needs structured action plans across both the public and private sectors that work towards common goals with key industry stakeholders.

“Our new manifesto outlines key areas that will help to support sustainable growth in the digital sector. These objectives have been identified by DMA Scotland, our Value of Data campaign partners, and membership organisations, using insights from our campaign’s research; from diversifying the talent pool and improving data literacy, to developing ethical frameworks in data and AI and creating international trade links.”

DMA Scotland’s Manifesto asks prospective candidates for the May 6 poll to take the #DemocratiseDataPledge and work towards achieving these objectives if they are elected.

They are:

1: Tackle the Reversing of Diversity
2: Increase employment in key talent pools
3: Neurodiversify the workforce
4: Identify and plug the skills gap
5: Demystify data and improve data literacy
6: Build on Scotland’s ethical use of data and AI
7: Boost international data trade

Further details about each objective can be found here.

The seven objectives were identified using insights gained through the Value of Data campaign’s recent Democratising Scotland’s Data Talent whitepaper, the Value of Data: The Worth of Ethics whitepaper, as well the DMA’s ongoing work with industry bodies across 35 nations on five continents, representing 15,000 organisations, to create Global Principles of trade.

Candidates can publicise their endorsement with the hashtag #DemocratiseDataPledge on their social media and support a united campaign across the data and marketing industry.Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Daniel Johnson said: “Scottish Labour pledges to support sustainable growth in the digital economy and measures to create a more inclusive and accessible data and marketing industry.

“This election is about a national recovery and adapting to a more digital economy is part of that. Our Jobs Plan has measures to support workers in that shift, and reskill those looking for work.

“Breaching the digital divide will take action across all sectors – in streamlining our NHS, for teachers and pupils alike in schools, and for small businesses and modernising our high streets.

“These are the solutions for a stronger recovery for a fairer Scotland.”

The SNP also confirmed they support this pledge.

The full manifesto and objectives can be accessed here.

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