A question of credibility

25 October 2005

I would like to take on board one of the key issues raised by Lina Abirafeh (in her blog of 21.10.05): the issue of credibility. For those of us who do work with and in communities, I think this is one of the most crucial ethical questions we have to address. As Lina points out - an ability to deliver effective programmes, to deliver on our word - goes some way to ensuring credibility. I think another important facet of the credibility criteria has to do with how grounded we are in the realities in which we work; for instance, how does a universal manifesto such as 1325 translate into our individual contexts? Are there times when it is, in its entirety, usable, or times when it is not, or times when it is usable only in parts? In a conflict situation, when is an appropriate time to speak of the requirements of a particular group of poeple (i.e. women)?

The first response in a post-conflict situation is necessarily one of humanitarian aid. By the time the issue of the protection of women has been raised, countless women and young girls will have been abducted, raped, or sold into prostitution. Do we require, then, from the start, a separate agency which goes beyond advocacy work, to safeguard the lives of women? And if, as in so many of our countries, the structures of our societies are patriarchal, governments are ineffective and NGOs may be viewed with some scepticism, from which platform will such an agency emerge?

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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