Data Scores as Governance

The mass collection and processing of data is becoming an increasingly integral part of governance. Whilst the integration of big data analytics in government practice is taking many forms, the use of data scores and scorecards is a particular emerging practice with significant implications for citizens and our understanding and assessment of ‘good citizenship’. Data scores that combine data from a variety of both online and offline activities are becoming a way to categorize citizens, allocating services, and predicting future behavior. Yet little is known about this practice, with only a few sporadic news reports published intermittently. Focusing largely on local government in the UK with comparative European examples where relevant, this project will provide a comprehensive interrogation of the uses of data-driven citizen scoring in government. It will do this through a) mapping, b) workshops with stakeholders, c) interviews with practitioners, d) interviews with experts, and e) journalistic training. As an outcome of this, we will produce i) an interactive map, ii) a research report, iii) policy recommendations, and iv) academic publications.

This project is made possible through a grant from the Open Society Foundations.