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Social Security Benefits

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 83793, tabled on 1 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 3 August 2020 to Question 75281 on Social Security Benefits, how many algorithms are involved in the development of the Covid Credit software referred to in that Answer; and what assessments have been made of algorithmic bias in the application of that software.

Answered on

11 September 2020

The Government’s Data Ethics Framework and ‘Guide to Using AI in the Public Sector’ alongside other guidance available on GOV.UK, supports ethical and safe use of algorithms in the public sector. Building on the existing work on algorithmic and data ethics, the Government is now working to deliver more transparency on the use of algorithmic-assisted decision making within the public sector; and is working with leading organisations in the field of data and AI ethics on a proposed approach to algorithmic transparency.

However, Covid Credit is third party, proof-of-concept software. The government has not commissioned the software nor engaged with the developers, and is therefore unable to comment on its functionality.