Ever since school I wanted to get into technology. I gained a degree and a master’s in information systems and technology, and started my career in the private sector, crossing into the public sector when I joined Camden Council.
During my 13 years in Camden, I have gained a wealth of experience, including web development, managing programmes and projects, running operational teams, and leading a business relationship service, before landing senior leadership positions as head of business intelligence and head of data and analytics.
Although data has been pivotal to various roles throughout my career, the work I have led to develop a vision for Camden that is data enabled has particularly enabled me to understand the “art of the possible” and the wider opportunities around data as a sector.
I have always been passionate about the role digital and data can play in our lives and working within the public sector provides me with opportunities to help shape and deliver better services and outcomes for residents and communities.
A few highlight moments – going up to accept digital leaders Digital City of the Year award in 2017 on behalf of Camden; winning data leader award at Data Talks: judging the DataIQ Awards; and generally having had the opportunity to lead, present, and speak about such an inspiring and upcoming area of data within public sector services. Also, seeing a data enabled organisational vision come to fruition and helping to deliver better public services.
My parents (both of whom are sadly no more) inspire me massively. I do believe inspiration can come in many forms and through various channels.
2019 saw more collaboration and lots of new initiatives that put data work at the centre of public service delivery. It also saw a massive increase in awareness around the work and art of the possible using data to enable better services for citizens and communities (eg ethical use of algorithms to tailor interventions for the most vulnerable). Although there is much more awareness around diversity, it is an area that sadly needs a lot more to be done around.
I expect data work to become prominent within the public sector and bridging the perceived divide around doing things better, for the right reasons and doing things ethically. Hopefully we will also continue to raise awareness around importance of diversity within the industry and start to see some real change. I also expect data to be established as a sector in its own right.
I believe we have a big opportunity to use data for public good and deliver public services that allow us to benefit from data and technology within an ethical canvas. I also believe public services have a unique opportunity to engage with citizens and communities around use of data, in order to engage around the subject and move to a more trust based, open and transparent approach to use of data.
With so much hype around use of data and technology, our biggest challenge remains that of ensuring we engage and understand how it can be used for good (particularly in public services context) and embrace the change that is needed across our organisations to drive value from data as part of its DNA.