Think Data for Government (May 2023)

Date: Wednesday 17 May 2023
Venue: One Great George Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 3PP

Supported by

Diamond Partner



Our chairwoman, Jessica Figueras, welcomes all delegates, sponsors, and speakers to our conference and sets out the day’s agenda.

  • Jessica Figueras, Founder, Either Ventures


Tom Smith, Director Spatial Data Unit and Chief Data Officer at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will share insight into the spatial data unit’s work to support levelling-up across the UK, delivering the data, infrastructure and insights needed for national and local delivery.

  • Tom Smith, Director Spatial Data Unit and Chief Data Officer, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities


Many government departments and agencies have now published ambitious, modernising data strategies. However, in the word of Sun Tzu, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest way to victory”. What are the tactics that can make a data strategy come to life across an organisation and gain traction, ensuring that the full benefits of democratising data are realised? In this fireside chat James Herbert, Pivotl, asks this question of Tetyana Mykhaylyk, Head of Data and Analytics at Companies House.

Tetyana will share the practical steps she has taken at Companies House to ensure data starts to embed itself into the day-to-day life of an organisation. These include Data Development Framework, Data Business Partners, Data Champions and Data Centres of Practice.

  • Tetyana Mykhaylyk, Head of Data and Analytics, Companies House
  • James Herbert, CEO, Pivotl


The race to the cloud has dominated many public sector departments’ digital transformation strategies over the last decade. But has this led technologists to become too fixated on getting to a particular destination versus aligning strategic, organizational and technological choices with the overarching goal of leveraging data as a strategic asset?

Creating true value from data is complex, and in public sector organisations it is often isolated in individual applications or locations. And this is only set to expand in a society where individuals will generate ever-increasing amounts of data and data sources are increasingly distributed across clouds and edges.

How do we ensure society and individuals get the most from the potential digital dividend?

Join us as we debate some of the challenges and opportunities of the data economy of the future and how the UK public sector can ensure it’s ready.

  • Charlie Boundy, Head of Advanced Analytics, Department for Work and Pensions
  • Lisa Allen, Director of Data and Tech Services, Open Data Institute
  • Russell Macdonald, Chief Technologist, Public Sector and Hybrid Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise



What will the government data leaders of the future look like? Our last Think Data for Government conference revealed a strong push across government to recruit and retain skilled staff in data roles, as public bodies invest in increasing their data capability.

We will hear from our panellists on how building organisational capability is translating into new roles, ways of working and career paths.

  • Alison Adams, Head of Data Science Capability, Office for National Statistics
  • Richard Browne, Assistant Director Data, Homes England
  • George Burbidge, Enterprise Account Executive, Multiverse


This session explores how the Cabinet Office has successfully been able to locate, retrieve and appraise its records, providing the opportunity to address its digital heap by automatically recommending content that should be kept or deleted. With the help of deploying Automated Intelligence’s cloud-based data analytics and migration AI.DATALIFT platform, the Cabinet Office has been able to deliver accurate and reliable disposal decisions, aiding digital archivists to greatly reduce the volume of ROT.

Hear from David Canning as he discusses the challenges government departments face in relation to its data and how not all big data provides positive outcomes. Automated Intelligence’s CSO, Paul Hudson will also cover the disruptive nature of ChatGPT and how the data behind the large language model is key to discovering informed insights.

  • David Canning, Head of Digital Knowledge & Information Management & Departmental Records Officer, Cabinet Office
  • Paul Hudson, Chief Strategy Officer, Automated Intelligence


As data sharing between public bodies and beyond becomes the norm, what does it mean to trust a dataset, or the organisation behind it? Organisations may have different goals, data definitions, and requirements for accuracy and granularity.

This session examines how data professionals can avoid the problems that arise when a dataset developed for one purpose is used for another, and what those creating open data need to know.

  • Lisa Allen, Director of Data and Tech Services, Open Data Institute
  • Gavin Freeguard, Data Consultant, Freelance



In this session we hear from Dominic Hale, Head of Strategy for the Integrated Data Service at the Office for National Statistics who will share insight into this very exciting project.

The Integrated Data Service (IDS) is a cross-government initiative, which has been designed to transform the way de-identified data about our society and economy is made available for vital research and decision making in the UK.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is leading the delivery of the IDS in collaboration with partners across government, the Devolved Administrations and the external research community.

The vision of the IDS is to bring together ready-to-use data, to enable faster and wider collaborative analysis for the public good.

Currently operating in a beta phase, the IDS provides co-ordinated access to high quality data – critical for driving efficiency and improving public services.

The IDS seeks to transform government’s use of data to drive efficiency and improve public services with a range of benefits including:

  • reducing analytical platform and resource costs
  • increased culture of analytical collaboration that builds trust in statistics
  • offering users friction-free access to a variety of rich data sources
  • offering cloud hosting, virtualisation, and flexible data access
  • Dominic Hale, Head of Strategy for the Integrated Data Service, Office for National Statistics


How government collects and uses data has never been just a technical question, and particularly when things go wrong matters can quickly become controversial or politicised. From citizen surveillance to the statistics governments choose to compile and use to drive public policy, data is power and must be wielded with care.

With the expectation of a General Election around the corner, our panellists will discuss best practices in public engagement – and how to tell the difference between a data question and a political question.

  • Coleth Burns, Senior Associate, More in Common
  • Gavin Freeguard, Data Consultant, Freelance
  • James Herbert, CEO, Pivotl


According to NHS England, “Data saves lives”. But there are many challenges to overcome, from public trust to technical infrastructure and skills – and the vexed question of systems and structures.

With various approaches to integrated health and social care now being pursued across the UK, our panellists will discuss what can be achieved with data when there is a supportive environment.

  • Ming Tang, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, NHS England & NHS Improvement
  • Claire Bloomfield, Director, Centre for Improving Data Collaboration, NHS England