Local government faces ‘threatening’ legal risks regarding use of AI services

Dr Sue Chadwick, planning law expert at Pinsent Masons, said it was “clear” that existing regulations were “inadequate” and left local authorities with “difficult choices”.

Writing in the Local Government Lawyer, Chadwick said: “It is clear that there are advantages to automating day-to-day local government functions and using data analytics to process large amounts of information from a variety of sources. in terms of saving time and money and freeing up agents for more complex tasks.

“It is also clear that the regulatory framework for this transformation is inadequate,” she added.

A recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Future of Work noted “marked gaps in legal protection” while highlighting the growing prevalence of AI in the workplace.

“For a local authority looking to embrace new digital tools, there are tough choices to make,” Chadwick said.

“On the one hand, there is a need to move forward quickly so that the benefits of technology can be realized. On the flip side, at the very least, there are reputational risks associated with adopting new technologies at a time when levels of public trust in government and new technologies are low. ”

“There may also be imminent legal risks – algorithmic bias has already been used as the basis for successfully challenging the use of facial recognition technology by South Wales Police,” Chadwick added.

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