Just Public Algorithms

‘Just Public Algorithms’ is a project funded by Not Equal EPSRC Network+: Social Justice through the Digital Economy. It ran September 2019 – April 2020. The project was led by Helen Pallett, supported by Jason Chilvers and Catherine Price in 3S, and Simon Burall at Involve.

Not Equal logo

The main aim of the ‘Just public algorithms’ project was to design an observatory for algorithms and society, in order to improve the governance of the social dimensions of the use of algorithms in public services. We first reviewed existing work on algorithms in public services, current responsible research and innovation (RRI) frameworks around algorithms and AI, and emerging literature on public observatories. This review work was accompanied by a mapping of existing examples of public engagement around the use of algorithms in public services in the UK. We held a stakeholder workshop in February 2020 to reflect on the findings of the review and mapping work, and to codesign the institutional blueprint of the observatory for algorithms and society. Our final briefing note summarises our key findings, and lays out the beginnings of a blueprint for the future governance of these approaches.

This project provides the most comprehensive picture yet of citizen responses to the ways in which algorithms are being adopted in and around UK public services, from welfare payments to policing, healthcare and immigration.

Download the project briefing note here: Public engagement with algorithms in public services