Working to make government more effective

Analysis paper

Data Bites: Getting things done with data in government

A summary of the first eight Data Bites events, drawing out some key themes.

Speakers on stage at the Institute for Government

Better use of data is key to more effective government. Across government and the public sector, teams of public servants are doing fascinating work with data – on policy and public services, data sharing and visualisation, infrastructure and ethics, and much more besides. But those projects often don’t get the attention they deserve.

‘Data’ means many different things across government – everything from statistics to service information to institutional memory – and is fragmented across (and within) different organisations, professions and functions.

For those not working directly with it, ‘data’ can still sound intimidating, prompting visions of cold, hard numbers in spreadsheet cells. But it need not be. Understood properly, the better use of data can bring huge benefits and help everyone across government make better policy, deliver better services and generally make things easier.

The Institute for Government’s Data Bites events aim to breathe life into those numbers and make clear the benefits of using data in government. A monthly meet-up consisting of four quickfire presentations, Data Bites aims to:

  • showcase interesting government data projects
  • bring together those in and around government with an interest in data
  • demonstrate how better data can lead to more effective government.

Each of our presenters has just eight minutes, against the clock, followed by eight minutes of questions. (This is no coincidence: the basic unit of information is a byte, which consists of eight bits – eight is an important number for us!)

This report summarises the first eight (naturally) Data Bites events, held between April 2019 and February 2020. It draws out some key themes, and presents answers to a standard set of questions put to all of our speakers, allowing you to learn more about the 32 projects we’ve heard from to date.

Data Bites
Institute for Government

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