ESRC International Panel Debate

ESRC International Panel Debate on Information Sharing for Public Services. What can the UK learn from the United States and New Zealand?

ESRC ImageWednesday 9 March 2016, 18.30-20.30, House of Commons

An upcoming Westminster Hall debate sponsored by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) will see academics, politicians and leading practitioners unite to discuss one of the most compelling questions in the delivery of public services for citizens: how to make information sharing work better and where to go from here.

Information sharing is a central concern across policy domains including the integration of health and social care, models of smart cities, tackling gangs and youth violence, and societal issues such as the security and sustainability agenda. Disasters and tragedies have been repeatedly attributed - at least in part - to the failure of agencies to share information. Attempts have been made to fix the problem through a variety of legislative, policy and IT approaches. Yet individuals and organisations still struggle to share information well.

Looking at the implications that information sharing has had on the delivery of services, how data can shape and inform public services policy delivery and taking into consideration the complexity of delivering change and improvement in the public sector.

The topic of assessing what we can learn from International Experiences in the USA and New Zealand and how it set to evolve in the future has attracted leading academics from Newcastle University, UK (Professor Rob Wilson), Albany University, USA (Professor Sharon Dawes) and Victoria University, New Zealand (Professor Miriam Lips) who will be participating in the event given their research and expertise in this area.

To balance the view of opinion and inject current government thinking, the debate will be chaired by Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central and participating on the panel will be Matt Warman, Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness.

This event will directly appeal to politicians, policy-makers, IT Managers, public and third sector practitioners, and anyone interested in the way information sharing is changing the way public services are delivered and the nature of the relationships between the state and its citizens and citizen with each other and their communities.

This event is free to attend but registration is required

Who should attend?

It is anticipated that a wide range of groups from beyond the academic community will benefit from the panel session.

1. Policy makers and service designers in European, national and local government and in service commissioning bodies and their representatives.
2. Those involved with regulation and governance e.g. the Information Commissioner's Office and relevant government select committees.
3. Practitioners and managers in public service provider organisations in public, private and third sectors in; e.g. health, social care (adults' and children's), education, criminal justice, emergency services, housing and employment services. This includes third parties such as IT providers.
4. Local and national media.
5. Non-academic researchers; e.g. charitable trusts, thinktanks.
6. Interested members of the general public (public service users' forums etc.).

Benefits for participants will include:

• exposure to new ideas or new ways of conceptualising issues raised by information sharing;
• meeting people who might be able to support in practical ways
• learning about models or tools that can be used by organisations to influence decision-making and practice around information sharing

For more information about the ESRC Seminar Series supporting this International Panel session please visit


Professor Rob Wilson

Rob is a Professor at Newcastle University where he directs a university research centre (KITE) and teaches in the Business School. His research interests are in public service innovation and socio-technical systems: the role that data, information and information systems play in inter-organisational innovation and relationships.

He has over twenty years of experience working on and leading public sector information system research and development projects. He has lectured widely on collaboration and information systems in public sector contexts. His most recent book is published by Oxford University Press and is entitled Digital Government at Work: A Social Informatics Perspective. He is currently leading on an ESRC Seminar Series on Information Sharing in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing and colleagues from the universities of Bradford, East Anglia and Manchester Metropolitan.

Professor Sharon Dawes

Sharon Dawes is Professor emerita of Public Administration and Policy and Informatics and senior fellow at the Centre for Technology in Government (CTG) at Albany University, USA. Before coming to CTG, she was executive director of the New York State Forum for Information Resource Management, and an executive fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

A fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, Sharon was elected the first president of the Digital Government Society of North America in 2006. She serves on advisory committees for the US National Science Foundation, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the United Nations University. She has been honoured with leadership awards from public, private, and academic organizations.

Professor Miriam Lips

Professor Miriam Lips is Professor of Digital Government at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Government, where she leads and undertakes a five-year research programme on ‘Government and Democracy in the Digital Age’ in partnership with the Department of Internal Affairs, Inland Revenue Department, the Ministry of Education and Datacom Systems Ltd. Miriam is a Steering Group Member of Victoria University of Wellington’s Spearheading our Digital Futures Distinctiveness Theme and until recently was the Programme Director of the Master of e-Government programme offered at Victoria University. Prior to moving to New Zealand, Miriam held academic positions at the University of Oxford and Tilburg University. She completed a PhD in Public Administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam in 1996.

Professor Lips recently was an appointed Member of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum, an independent task force set up by the Ministers of Finance and Statistics to examine, report and engage widely on how New Zealand could maximise the benefits of the data revolution, while minimising the risks of potential harm, such as privacy and security breaches and the unethical use of data. She currently is an appointed Member of the New Zealand Data Futures Partnership, an independent Working Group which reports to the Ministers of Finance, Justice and Statistics. Miriam also has been recently appointed as Deputy Chair of the New Zealand Open Government Partnership Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Professor Lips has published widely in the field of Digital Government and Democracy, with 9 books as author, co-author or editor, and many publications in leading international journals including Public Management Review, Information, Communication & Society, Public Administration, Public Money & Management, International Journal of Public Administration, Information Polity, and Media, Culture & Society. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Information Polity. Government and Democracy in the information age (IOS Press) and an Editorial Board Member of Information, Communication & Society, Government Information Quarterly, and Policy & Internet. Miriam also is an Appointed Member of the Management Board at Large of the International Research Society of Public Management since 2013. For more information about Professor Lips’ research, teaching and engagement activities, please visit VUW’s Digital Government programme website at

Chi Onwurah MP

Chi Onwurah is a British Member of Parliament representing Newcastle upon Tyne Central and is also Shadow Minister for Culture & the Digital Economy.

From Jan 2013 - Sept 2015 Chi was Shadow Cabinet Office Minister leading on cyber security, social entrepreneurship, civil contingency, open government and transparency. From Oct 2010 – Jan 2013 Chi was Shadow Minister for Innovation, Science & Digital Infrastructure working closely with the Science and business community, with industry on Broadband issues, and on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Chi continues to encourage women in STEM.

Prior to Chi’s election to Parliament in May 2010 she worked as Head of Telecom's Technology at the UK regulator Ofcom focussing on the implications for competition and regulation of the services and technologies associated with Next Generation Networks.

Prior to Ofcom, Chi was a Partner in Hammatan Ventures, a US technology consultancy, developing the GSM markets in Nigeria and South Africa. Previously she was Director of Market Development with Teligent, a Global Wireless Local Loop operator and Director of Product Strategy at GTS. She has also worked for Cable & Wireless and Nortel as Engineer, Project and Product Manager in the UK and France.

Chi is a Chartered Engineer with a BEng in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London and an MBA from Manchester Business School. She was born in Wallsend and attended Kenton Comprehensive School in Newcastle, where she was elected the school’s ‘MP’ in mock elections aged 17.

Matt Warman MP

Matt Warman is the newly elected Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness. Retaining the seat for the Conservatives with a majority of 4,336, he campaigned on a commitment to improve communication between Westminster and the electorate, and increasing investment in Lincolnshire’s roads, broadband and public services.

Prior to entering politics, Matt worked for the Daily Telegraph from 1999 until 2015, focusing for most of the period on technology, leading coverage of Facebook, Google and Apple, and covering the launch of products including iPhones, the BBC iPlayer and the Apple Watch, as well as interviewing key figures including the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web.

In Parliament, Matt is a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, and Co-Chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Broadband and Digital Communication and Pictfor (The Parliamentary Internet, Communications and Technology Forum).