Think Data for Government 2021 – Virtual Conference

May 12th 2021

Date: Wednesday 12 May 2021

Supported by


09:30 - 09:35

Chairs welcome

Jessica Figueras, Vice-Chair of the UK Cyber Security Council, welcomes all delegates, sponsors, and speakers to our conference and sets out the day’s agenda.

  • Jessica Figueras, Vice Chair, UK Cyber Security Council
09:35 - 09:55


Sue Bateman, Deputy Director for Data and Innovation at the Central Digital and Data Office, will set out the current state of play for data across various English government departments and outline plans for activity as the public sector moves through 2021 and beyond.

  • Sue Bateman, Deputy Director for Data and Innovation, Central Digital and Data Office
09:55 - 10:15


Scotland has a Vision for Data that will be used routinely to save time, money and lives creating economic, social and environmental value.  Albert will talk about work to achieve that through Scotland’s Digital Strategy, AI Strategy and programmes to build a data infrastructure in Scotland.

  • Albert King, Chief Data Officer, Scottish Government
10:15 - 10:50


With the recent publication of the government’s National Data Strategy, it’s now clear that data and information is the number one asset for public sector organisations wishing to drive benefit for citizens. But digital transformation initiatives have too often treated data as an afterthought, meaning lost opportunities to exploit analytics and AI.

In this session we’ll discuss the approaches public sector bodies are taking to ensure that data is at the centre of their broader transformation programmes.

  • Julie Pierce, Director of Openness, Data and Digital, Food Standards Agency
  • Dr Natalie Byrom, Director of Research & Learning, Legal Education Foundation
  • Edafe Onerhime, Consultant - Previously Head of Data for effective development, FCDO
  • Paul Hudson, Head of Product Strategy, Automated Intelligence
10:15 - 11:25


There’s been a lot of excitement about the possibilities of predictive AI in the public sector, and interest in early intervention approaches in sectors from health to education and policing. But it’s also become clear that this is an area fraught with practical and ethical dangers. With an expectation that the public sector will lead with high standards of algorithmic justice, ethical and evidence-based practice, what should bodies be doing to bring about nirvana, not nightmare?

  • Charlie Boundy, Deputy Director and Head of Data Science, DWP Digital
  • Dr Nicky Zachariou, Head of Data Science - Probation Reform, Ministry of Justice UK
  • Mark Durkee, Projects & Tech Function Team Lead, Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation
  • Lexy Kassan, Senior Solutions Architect, Databricks
11:25 - 11:55


Whether it’s joined up healthcare or the surveillance economy, the Covid public health emergency has shone a spotlight on both positives and negatives of data sharing. Data protection and privacy continue to present complex practical and ethical challenges for public bodies, and the post-Brexit regulatory landscape is not yet clear.

In this session, panellists will discuss citizens’ evolving expectations about data privacy and how public bodies are approaching the challenge.

  • Amanda Finch, CEO, CIIsec
  • Gilbert Hill, Privacy Technologist, Institute of Digital Marketing
  • Joseph Byrne, CIPP/E, CIPM, Privacy Solutions Engineer, OneTrust
11:55 - 12:25


Advanced data infrastructure isn’t worth much if an organisation doesn’t have the skills to exploit it – and unfortunately, the UK faces a serious data skills shortage that’s estimated to cost £2bn a year. In this session we’ll hear more about where the critical gaps are in government, and what’s being done to close them. Whether it’s machine learning specialists or data-literate senior officials, how can public bodies build the data competence they’ll need to succeed

  • Louisa Nolan, Chief Data Scientist & Deputy Director at Data Science Campus, Office for National Statistics
  • Abigail Page, Head of Innovation and Skills, Geospatial Commission, Cabinet Office
  • Kathie Bowden, Skills and Careers Lead, UK Space Agency
12:25 - 12:55


The UK’s first Geospatial Strategy, published last year, described the opportunity to harness the potential of location data to drive our future economic recovery and growth. From local infrastructure to net zero, public health to transport, nearly every part of the public sector will have a role to play.

This session will look at the immediate opportunities for public bodies to exploit the data that they curate, and to make it accessible for innovation.

  • Jamie Clark, Head of Public Sector Geospatial Policy, Geospatial Commission, Cabinet Office
  • Dr Jacqui Taylor, CEO, Fl;yingBinary
  • Bruce Gittings, Chair, Association for Geographical Information (Scotland)
12:55 - 13:00

Chair's summary

Our chair, Jessica Figueras, summarises some of the of the sessions that you have heard this morning.

  • Jessica Figueras, Vice Chair, UK Cyber Security Council