The Economic and Social Research Council-funded Seminar Series considers the following question: Information Sharing in Policy and Practice: What needs to be shared (and not shared) when we share information?
This series of seminars responds to the urgent challenges posed by the uses of information in governing and delivering public services.
We have secured funding from the ESRC for a three year programme of 12 seminars:
Academics, policy-makers, practitioners and service users will be involved in the series.
The seminars will provide a constructive and open forum for these groups to engage in facilitated, structured dialogue about the real world difficulties that remain to be tackled.
Throughout the life of the series, the principal and co-investigators will work towards establishing and nurturing a sustainable 'interpretative community' of academic researchers and non-academic users.
Find out more about the aims of the Seminar Series.
Background about information sharingBackground about information sharing
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 the 'troubled families' agenda
Disasters and tragedies have been attributed 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.
Austerity measures are having significant effects as public services try to do more with less by harnessing information to avoid duplication and repetition.
Our current knowledge suggests that the exchange and management of data between organisations and practitioners involved in the delivery of public service has been difficult to achieve. In particular, where sharing involves multiple professions and organisations with different values, standards and traditions.
This has been made worse as governments have increasingly encouraged a more diverse service supplier-base including businesses, charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations. In addition, data needs to be interpreted.
As part of our activities in 2016 we hosted two leading international experts in the field of information sharing. These were Professor Sharon Dawes, Centre for Technology in Government, Rockefeller School of Government, Albany University, and Professor Miriam Lips, Victoria University, New Zealand.
As part of their visit they were involved in a number of activities including an International Panel Session hosted at the Houses of Parliament and a Seminar at Newcastle University.
Support for doctoral students and early career researchers
Each seminar aims to support the development of doctoral students and early career researchers.
During the first year, the three seminars aimed to achieve this through poster sessions and bursaries to support travel and accommodation.
Receive further information about the ESRC Seminars Series by completing our ESRC Seminar Series online form.
Find out how to get involved.
All are welcome to register an interest in participating in the seminars; there is a range of ways you can get involved.
Benefits for participants
Participants of the Seminar Series will benefit from:
- exposure to new ideas or new ways of conceptualising issues raised by information sharing
- meeting people who can support in practical ways (this is particularly the case for the seminars in year three)
- learning about models or tools that can be used by organisations to influence decision-making and practice around information sharing
You'll also learn about the language you should use to participate in the debates and to challenge dominant discourses in the media, politics and academia.
A wide range of groups beyond the academic community will benefit from the proposed Seminar Series, including:
- non-academic researchers; eg charitable trusts
- policy makers and service designers in European, national and local government and in service commissioning bodies and their representatives
- those involved with regulation and governance eg the Information Commissioner's Office and relevant government select committees
- local and national media
- interested members of the general public (public service users' forums etc)
Practitioners and managers in public service provider organisations in public, private and third sectors will also benefit from the Seminar Series. Sectors include:
- social care (adults' and children's)
- criminal justice
- emergency services
- housing and employment services
- third parties such as IT providers
Longer-term, indirect benefits of the Seminar Series include:
- learning from seminar reports or articles
- improvements to systems in provider organisations from resultant learning
- improved services experienced by the public resulting from resultant actions
- improved value for money in public services arising from better information sharing, leading to an improved national economy
In the longer term there will be a measurable impact on the design and provision of public services. This will have a positive impact on the nation's health and wealth.
To receive further information about the ESRC Seminars Series complete our ESRC Seminar Series online form.
Find out about the aims of ESRC Seminar Series.
The nature and scope of the seminars have been developed and refined in close collaboration between Newcastle University and the national Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.
The Seminar Series has been welcomed by other potential user groups including Local Government Association and the Department of Work and Pensions.
Academic outputs will advance debates within and across:
- social policy
- public management
- social work and information systems
The series will support research capacity building with activities and prizes for doctoral students and early career researchers.
The series will:
Foster the exchange of information and ideas
It will do this by bringing together academic researchers from different disciplines who have made contributions around the theme of information sharing in the delivery of public services and policy making in the realm of information sharing.
Facilitate mutual understanding
The Series will facilitate mutual understanding and knowledge exchange. It aims to establish a sustainable 'interpretative community' between academic researchers and non-academic users from the public, private and third sectors. Especially with individuals/organisations tasked with advancing, or affected by, challenges of governance of information and information sharing for service delivery in public services.
Contribute to capacity building within the research community
The Series aims to contribute to capacity building within the research community (both academic, policy-maker and practice based) by including:
- established experts
- early career researchers
- postgraduate students
It aims to initiate new interdisciplinary theoretically informed ways of articulating and representing information sharing in the public service from across the remit of government, including the development of multidisciplinary networks that would lead to collaborative research projects.
Inform policy and practice
The Seminar Series will inform policy and practice through reporting on seminar proceedings. This will be through a live commentary via tweets and subsequent reports/presentations on the website/blog in order to provide insight to wider practitioner and policy-making communities.
This work will be led by the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing who have an established website, blog and twitter feed devoted to the topic.
Engage with the academic community
The seminars aim to engage with the academic community through the dissemination of ideas about the multi-disciplinary aspects of information sharing that make significant contributions to shaping debates and discussions. This will take the form of published outputs in international journals.
Responses to Consultations
During the lifetime of the Seminar Series there have been a number of calls for evidence and consultation on policy, including from Her Majesty's Government. Find links to the consultations and our responses below.
Visit Gov.uk's website for Cabinet Office Consultation on Data Sharing.
We welcome the Cabinet Office consultation on data sharing and the open policy making approach that has been adopted in developing it.
Download our General Points about the Consultation document (PDF: 255KB).