Services Data Trusts


What is a data trust?

The Open Data Institute (ODI) define a data trust as 'a legal structure that provides independent stewardship of data'.  ‘Data stewards’ decide who has access to data, under what conditions and who can benefit from it. Organisations that collect and hold data usually have this role. With data trusts, the organisations that collect and hold data permit an independent institution to make decisions about how that data is used and shared for an agreed purpose.

ODI data trust pilots

After a national tendering process, BPE was one of only two law firms appointed to advise the ODI on the legal governance of data trusts.  The research programme, funded by Innovate UK and the Office for Artificial Intelligence, involved several projects examining the use of data trusts in different scenarios.  BPE’s Science and Technology team, led by Partner, Rob Bryan, advised on the use of data trusts to improve public services in the Royal London Borough of Greenwich.  Specifically, the project examined how data could be used to improve energy use and environmental impact in a communal heating system, and the potential of using electric car charging points and parking sensors to share information about the availability of parking spaces.

Copies of the reports produced as a result of the pilot projects can be found in the links below.

Data Trusts team

To talk to one of our team about data trusts and how they could benefit your organisation, please contact a member of the team below:


Rob Bryan, Head of Science & Technology





Data trusts: legal and governance considerations

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Extended ODI Data Trust report: 5

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Data Trust for the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Greater London Authority

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