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Courts Service examines data strategies



HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has brought in a special adviser for its plans to look at how it uses its data in court reform.

It has taken on Dr Natalie Byrom (pictured), director of research and learning at The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF), on a three-month secondment to advise on strategies to enhance academic engagement and improve the availability of data for research.

Her remit will focus on a handful of areas. For the short term, it will be to improve HMCTS’s understanding of key stakeholders’ needs and what data is required to measure the impact of reform, and to recommend changes to improve how HMCTS supports those seeking to carry out research using HMCTS data.

One of the longer term aims is to understand how the HMCTS future data strategy can best support how data is made available to researchers securely and appropriately. This will inform the creation of data sharing principles for the service.

Byrom will also advise on setting up a range of externally funded data engineering fellowships. These should improve the preparation of new and existing datasets for internal and external use.

Her recommendations arising will be made publicly available on the TLEF and HMCTS websites.

In announcing the secondment, HMCTS chief executive officer Susan Acland-Hood said: “I have long said that how we better manage our data and make it available for academics and researchers to use is a fundamental element of reform. Natalie’s expertise will be integral to quickening our progress in this crucial area.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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