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Public Authority Algorithm Bill [HL]
[AS INTRODUCED]
CONTENTS
[S INTRODUCED]

A

bill

to

Regulate the use of automated decision-making in the public sector; to require a public authority to complete an algorithmic impact assessment in prescribed form where it procures or develops an automated decision-making system; to establish a Minister for standards in algorithm use; and for connected purposes.

B e it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Purpose of this Act


The purpose of this Act is to ensure that automated decision systems are
deployed in a manner that reduces risks to individuals, public authorities,
groups and society as a whole, and leads to efficient, fair, accurate, consistent
and interpretable decisions.

2 Principles of this Act


The principles of this Act are as follows—

(a)

decisions made in and by a public authority are responsible and
comply with procedural fairness and due process requirements, and
its duties under the Equality Act,

(b)

impacts of algorithms on administrative decisions are assessed and
negative outcomes are minimized, and

(c)

data and information on the use of automated decision systems in
public authorities are made available to the public.

3 Systems to which this Act applies

(1)

Subject to subsections (3) and (4), this Act applies to any automated decision
system developed or procured by a public authority from six months after
the date on which this Act is passed.

(2)

This includes—

(a)

any system, tool or statistical model used to inform, recommend or
make an administrative decision about a service user or a group of
service users, and

(b)

systems in development, excluding automated decision systems
operating in test environments.

(3)

This Act does not apply to any automated decision system used for the
purpose of national security.

(4)

This Act does not apply to automated systems which merely calculate and
implement formulas, including taxation and budgetary allocation, insofar as
they automate a process of calculation which would otherwise be carried out
manually and is fully understood.

4 Algorithmic Impact Assessments

(1)

Prior to use or procurement of an automated decision system, public
authorities are responsible for completing an Algorithmic Impact Assessment
prescribed in regulations made under this Act.

(2)

Subsection (1) does not apply when the automated decision system is—

(a)

used solely for the formulation of policy in relation to that public
authority, and

(b)

not expected to, in practice, fully or predominantly determine the
content of the policy.

(3)

The Algorithmic Impact Assessment must be updated when the functionality,
or the scope, of the automated decision system changes.

(4)

The final Algorithmic Impact Assessment must be published in accessible
format within 30 days of the results being known.

(5)

The Secretary of State must by regulations prescribe the form of an Algorithmic
Impact Assessment framework with the aims of ensuring public authorities—

(a)

procure and develop automated decision systems in conformity with
the principles set out in section 2 ,

(b)

better understand and reduce the risks associated with automated
decision systems, and

(c)

introduce the appropriate governance, oversight, and reporting and
auditing requirements that best match the risks associated with the
application envisaged.

(6)

Such framework as prescribed by regulations made under subsection (5) must
include the requirement for—

(a)

a detailed description of the automated decision system;

(b)

an assessment of the relative benefits and risks of the system including
the risks to the privacy and security of personal information;

(c)

an explanation of the steps taken to minimise those risks;

(d)

independent external scrutiny of the efficacy and accuracy of the
system;

(e)

mandatory bias testing of any automated decision system to ensure
it abides by the Equality Act 2010.

5 Requirements of public sector organisations on use of automated decision systems


No later than the commencement of use of an automated decision system, a
public authority must—

(a)

give notice on a public register that the decision rendered will be
undertaken in whole, or in part, by an automated decision system;

(b)

make arrangements for the provision of a meaningful explanation to
affected individuals of how and why a decision affecting them was
made, as prescribed in regulations to be made by the Secretary of
State;

(c)

develop processes to—

(i)

monitor the outcomes of the automated decision system to
safeguard against unintentional outcomes and to verify
compliance with this Act and other relevant legislation; and

(ii)

validate that the data collected for, and used by, the automated
decision system is relevant, accurate, up-to-date, and in
accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

6 Training of public sector employees

(1)

Public authorities using an automated decision system to inform or recommend
an administrative decision concerning a service user or group of service users
must implement organisational practices and measures to ensure that those
applying the final decision have the authority and competence to challenge
the automated decision system’s output.

(2)

Each public authority that uses an automated decision system must provide
adequate employee training in the design, function and implementation of
the system, to enable staff to review, explain and oversee its operations.

7 Logging

(1)

Automated decision systems must be designed with logging capabilities
enabling the automated recording of events during operation, in line with
recognised standards or common specifications, which enable the monitoring
of the operation of the system in relation to risks and legal obligations.

(2)

Logs referred to in subsection (1) must be held by, or regularly transmitted
to, the public authority with responsibility for the functions being exercised
in connection with the automated decision system.

(3)

Public authorities must hold logs for a minimum period of five years, unless
a shorter period is strictly necessary for purposes of privacy or security, such
period to be determined in advance of the use of the automated decision
system.

(4)

In the case of decision support systems, logs referred to in subsection (1) must
record whether or not the final decision taken followed the recommendation
of the automated decision system.

8 Prohibition on procuring systems incapable of scrutiny


No public authority may deploy or use an automated decision system where
there are practical barriers, including contractual or technical measures and
intellectual property interests, limiting their effective assessment or monitoring
of the automated decision system in relation to individual outputs or aggregate
performance.

9 Independent dispute resolution service


The Secretary of State must ensure that the ability to—

(a)

challenge a decision or class of decisions made by an automated
decision system, or

(b)

obtain redress for a decision or class of decisions made by an
automated decision system,


is available through an independent dispute resolution service appropriate
to the nature of the public authority and the decision or class of decisions in
question.

10 Minister for standards in algorithm use

(1)

A Minister must be appointed with responsibility for ensuring that the Nolan
principles are observed in the use of algorithms by public authorities.

(2)

The Minister must present an annual report to Parliament on the operation
of this Act and the fulfilment of his or her duties under subsection (1) .

11 Regulations


Regulations under sections 4 and 5 are to be made by statutory instrument
and may not be made unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by
a resolution of, both Houses of Parliament.

12 Definitions


The Schedule contains definitions of terms used in this Act.

13 Extent, commencement and short title

(1)

This Act extends to England and Wales.

(2)

This Act comes into force 6 months after the day on which it is passed.

(3)

This Act may be cited as the Public Authority Algorithm Act 2022.

Schedule Definitions of terms used in this Act

1

“Public authority” has the same meaning as in Part 1 of Schedule 19 to the
Equality Act 2010.

2

“Algorithmic Impact Assessment framework” means a framework in the
form laid down in regulations made by the Secretary of State under section
4
.

3

“Automated decision system” means any technology that either assists or
replaces the judgement of human decision-makers.

4

“Procure” means the acquisition by means of a public contract of works,
supplies or services by one or more contracting authorities from economic
operators chosen by those contracting authorities, whether or not the works,
supplies or services are intended for a public purpose.

5

“Test environment” means an environment containing hardware,
instrumentation, simulators, software tools, and other support elements
needed to conduct a test or simulated use.

6

“Decision support system” means an automated decision system used by
a public authority intending not to base decisions solely upon its outputs.

Public Authority Algorithm Bill [HL]
[AS INTRODUCED]

A

bill

to

Regulate the use of automated decision-making in the public sector; to require a public authority to complete an algorithmic impact assessment in prescribed form where it procures or develops an automated decision-making system; to establish a Minister for standards in algorithm use; and for connected purposes.

Lord Clement-Jones

Ordered to be Printed, .

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