Drawing on the first comprehensive investigation into the uses of data analytics in UK public services, this article outlines developments and practices surrounding the upsurge in data-driven forms of what we term 'citizen scoring'. This refers to the use of data analytics in government for the purposes of categorisation, assessment and prediction at both individual and population level. Combining Freedom of Information requests and semi-structured interviews with public sector workers and civil society organisations, we detail the practices surrounding these developments and the nature of concerns expressed by different stakeholder groups as a way to elicit the heterogeneity, tensions and negotiations that shape the contemporary landscape of data-driven governance. Described by practitioners as a way to achieve a 'golden view' of populations, we argue that data systems need to be situated in this context in order to understand the wider politics of such a 'view' and the implications this has for state-citizen relations in the scoring society.
Datafication Data governance Data scores Public sector Citizenship