The Digital Regulation Co-operation Forum (DRCF) supports co-operation between the CMA, FCA, ICO and Ofcom on digital regulation.  It has launched an AI and Digital Hub pilot to “support innovators working on AI or digital products by providing informal advice on complex regulatory questions that cross more than one DRCF regulator’s remit.  This free service will make it easier to get support from two or more regulators at once, via the DRCF website, rather than having to approach each one separately.

Who can apply to the Hub and how does it work?

According to the DRCF, innovators who are developing a new product, service or business model are eligible to apply to the Hub if their question meets these criteria:

  1. It has an AI and/or digital focus;
  2. It falls within the remit of at least two DRCF member regulators;
  3. It is innovative;
  4. It will benefit consumers, businesses and/or the UK economy.

DRCF say they will adopt a broad interpretation of “innovative” to capture both radical and incremental advances to products, services or business models.

Case studies will inform applicants and widen access

DRCF further says that as they address queries in the Hub, it will publish the outcomes as case studies on its website, anonymised as appropriate and without any sensitive commercial information, to support a greater number of innovators and benefit other UK businesses.

The DRCF 2024/2024 workplan was also published recently and include the DRCF AI and Digital Hub, and AI as key parts of its plans. As part of the workplan, DRCF also notes that it will “seek feedback from users of the Hub and evaluate the pilot’s performance and improve the service offering.

This will be complementary to DRCF's wider work on AI, which in 2024/2025 includes:

  • Host joint workshops to explore how the UK Government’s AI Principles interact within different regulatory areas and remits, with a focus this year on AI transparency and accountability. 
  • Share our approaches to conducting regulatory audits of AI systems, including challenges and learnings. 
  • Continue our research into the third-party auditing market, to help inform industry on how they can make best use of third-party auditors. 
  • Work with the government’s new central AI function and consider potential joint regulator capability-building projects. 
  • Host an AI event to connect regulators with experts, industry and civil society to raise awareness of research into responsible AI.

As a side note, in September 2022 Burges Salmon submitted evidence to the government as part of consultation on the AI regulatory framework in the UK, including the suggestion that there is “a clear process by which stakeholders can submit requests for regulatory guidance, whether from a specific regulator or from multiple regulators simultaneously.” We anticipate that the Hub will be welcomed by the market in principle and now look forward to seeing how it works in practice.

If you would like to discuss how current or future regulations impact what you do with AI, please contact Tom Whittaker, Brian Wong, Lucy Pegler, David VarneyMartin Cook or any other member in our Technology team.