Voluntary Application: Fable Data

2023 Winner of the Award for Statistical Excellence in Trustworthiness, Quality and Value for the ‘Data for Good programme’.

Applying the Code: Trustworthiness, Quality and Value

Fable Data became a voluntary adopter of the Code in February 2023, demonstrating how they uphold the pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value (TQV) in their published Statement of Compliance.

Their application of TQV is unique given how they balance their commercial interests with a solid commitment to public good. Fable Data regards Trustworthiness as non-negotiable, seeing rigorous compliance procedures as vital to ensuring they are led by data ethics and governance.

Quality is ensured by Fable’s data and tech team to obtain the full potential of the raw data ingested, enriching the data, and making it usable.

Value for greater society is at the heart of Fable’s Data for Good programme. Their pro-bono arm supplies data to policymakers and academics at no cost to contribute to the public good. While Fable demonstrated particular excellence in this pillar, they could not deliver this initiative without also fulfilling Trustworthiness and Quality.

In doing so, their planned commitment to TQV is strong, with an evolving application of the pillars as their entrepreneurial ideas change and grow.

Luke Kennedy, CEO at Fable Data said:

“We are delighted to win this award. I recall my time working in policy and feeling the severe lack of datasets as timely and comprehensive as Fable’s. As a result, it means a lot to me that we’re recognised for the work we do to add value for the public good. There’s a fulfilling circularity to that.”

Who are Fable Data?

Fable Data sources anonymous consumer and SME spending data from banks across Europe for use in commercial, academic and policy research.

Their mission is to arm the world’s decision-makers with the most reliable, trustworthy and timely consumer transaction data available. With compliance and data ethics at the core of their business, they’re trusted by many of the world’s most influential organisations including The International Monetary Fund, the Deutsche Bundesbank, the University of Oxford and many more.

What is the ‘Data for Good programme’?

Fable Data was founded with a vision to provide a pro bono granular dataset for government bodies, academics, and national statistical offices, to be available for innovative research and policy making for the creation of new economic indicators. Through this pioneering innovation for public good, Fable’s ‘Data for Good programme’ encouraged new opportunities for combining and extrapolating economic insights for key institutions. These included HM Treasury, BEIS, and the Deutsche Bundesbank, who could see the value in Fable’s datasets and used them in combination with official statistics and other sources to provide a deeper insight into economic activity.

Through supporting these organisations across a wide range of policy areas, Fable Data could answer economic questions with their granular insights at real time speed. Their European consumer transaction data really helped the understanding of the underlying drivers for changes in spending trends. During the pandemic and beyond, in partnership with the University of Nottingham, this has helped explore aspects of regional recovery, demonstrating the impact of local lockdowns, economic tracking with geographical granularity and challenged the framing of conventional regional economic policy. The ‘Data for Good programme’ continues to contribute to further innovation, including literature on key macroeconomics topics as seen via IMF working papers on inflation weights and the impact of monetary policy on consumption.

In support of the work undertaken by Fable Data, a spokesperson from BEIS said:

“We have used Fable Data to help support questions in a wide range of policy areas. The speed of delivery allows us to get insight into rapidly evolving policy questions in real time, while the granularity of the transaction data enables us to understand the underlying drivers of changes in spending trend. Combined, these features make Fable transaction data a powerful complement to other datasets such as official statistics.”

Fable Data’s International Initiatives

Fable Data recently acted as the sole private data provider at the 2023 European Big Data Hackathon organised by Eurostat. This event saw teams representing various European national statistical offices take part in a challenge to create a policy alert trigger using card transaction data.

This was for some teams their first taste of working with big data, and the experience subsequently has encouraged them to explore adopting big data capabilities.

Here live-streamed is the winning teams’ presentation of their innovative outputs at the European Commission’s Conference on New Techniques and Technologies for Statistics.