Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

2014-15 Seminars

2014-15 Seminars


This ESRC seminar series focuses on the challenges posed by information sharing in the delivery of public services. The first year of seminars ran from November 2014 to October 2015.

The first year of seminars include:


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Health & Social Care

Information Sharing and the Integration of Health and Social Care focused on the relationship between health and social care.

The seminar took place at Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle upon Tyne on  25 November 2014, 10.00-16.00.

Seminar Lead: Rob Wilson, Newcastle University, and Nick Frost, Leeds Beckett University, in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.

Focus of the seminar

The first seminar focused on one of the hot topics of information sharing – the relationship between health and social care.

For over 20 years there has been a clear policy objective to improve the inter-working between health and social care. Behind this policy aim is the belief that better information sharing will lead to improvements in efficiency and effectiveness for patients/clients and for the various services involved in working together. Many initiatives have come and gone in this period ranging from the technology led programmes such as Connecting for Health and the Whole Systems Telecare Demonstrators to the various versions of the Information Governance Toolkits to the current situation where we have now have the Caldicott 2 review and the Health and Social Care Pioneers.


  • Professor Ken Eason, Bayswater Institute and Loughborough University, on “Integrated Health and Social Care? Of course we need to share information but...” (Keynote)
  • Dr Penny Hill, Independent Social Care Informatics Consultant, on “Information Sharing and Information Governance in Social Care”
  • Terry Dafter, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Chair of the ADASS Information Network and ADASS Digital Champion on “Current developments: A View from Social Care”
  • Professor Flis Henwood, University of Brighton, on “Sharing, caring and service managing: Exploring the multiple realities of primary care electronic patient records”
  • Dr Nick Booth and Professor Mike Martin, Newcastle University, on “Architectures for Sharing Information between Health and Social Care: the case of Discharge Summaries”
  • Representatives from the National Health and Social Care Integration Pioneer Project(s) and the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Feedback form

If you attended the seminar please share your feedback by completing our ESCR Seminar 25th November 2014 Feedback Form.


Multi-agency, Multi-user, Multi-locale Working: Sharing Information for and about Families.

The seminar took place at the University of Bradford, Bradford on 5 March 2015, 10.00-16.00.

Seminar Leads: Sue Richardson, University of Bradford, and Sue Baines, Manchester Metropolitan University, in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.

Focus of the seminar

In this seminar we were concerned with information to support multi-agency working where the client/citizen/service-user is not one individual but a group of connected individuals.

This approach has come to the fore in recent policy and practice with regard to families. In England a new, controversial category of 'troubled families' has been the basis for a major social policy programme using data interwoven from a range of electronic systems. The challenge of information with families is not just a matter of collecting individual records but includes building representations of the relationships between individuals. Information may be local and contextual but families can span spatial boundaries and even jurisdictions.

In this seminar, invited experts shared research and practice-based evidence that offered insights into the often overlooked questions of information for and about families.


  • Professor Deborah Chambers, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University – 'Changing concepts and structures of family: connecting research and policymaking'
  • Dr Kate Cook, Senior Lecturer in Law, Manchester Law School – 'Unrecorded victims of domestic violence'
  • Catherine O’Melia, Lead for Leeds Families First – 'Developing our intelligence: Experiences from the Families First Leeds programme of sharing information with police and other agencies'
  • Kate Karban, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Bradford – 'Family mental health and child protection: lessons from serious case reviews'
  • Representatives from the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Smart Places

Information Sharing for Smart Places: What Kinds of Information Sharing for What Kinds of Places?

This seminar took place at the University of East Anglia, Norwich on 2 July 2015, 10.00-16.00.

Seminar Lead: James Cornford, University of East Anglia, in partnership Mark Hepworth, Loughborough University, with the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.


The notion of smart places has taken off. This is most apparent in the widespread use of the term “smart cities,” but should not be seen as purely urban phenomenon. It has captured the interest of corporations, national and local governments and urban activists and academics (Townsend, 2013; BIS, 2013). The precise content of the concept is, however, far from agreed or stable (Hollands, 2008).

Earlier, more technocratic, visions, often proposed by governments and large IT services companies, focused on the co-ordination of hard infrastructure systems in transport and mobility, energy distribution and use, and physical security based mainly on data captured from sensors, meters and cameras. In this vision, such data were to be brought together and analysed and visualised to support improved efficiency and above all effective flow. They seek to keep the city moving, often in ways that were invisible to citizens.

Against this top down and centralising vision, a loose coalition of community activists and others have proposed alternative visions of what a smart place might look like. These perspectives contrast with the technocratic vision in at least three ways:

  1. they have a much more active role for citizens as producers and users of information.
  2. they stress a dialogical perspective on information which emphasises conversation and debate rather than seeing information as mainly orders and (market) signals.
  3. they focus on more substantive ends of place-making, not just keeping the city moving, but raising questions about the goals and destination of such movement.

More recent pronouncements on smart cities, by companies and governments alike, have increasingly sought to accommodate elements of this critique and some commentators see a new hybrid or synthesis emerging. However, we lack the empirical and theoretical contributions to understand fully what is emerging in this space (Kitchin, 2015).

Underpinning all these visions is the sharing of relevant information across sectoral, organisational and cultural boundaries. As the idea of smart places has developed, so too have the kinds of information that need to be shared. In addition to the, mainly environmental and transport related, data from sensors and cameras, shared data from social media has been used to give indications of the health or even mood of cities. In addio=a range of experiments with citizen reporting of phenomena from potholes to noisy neighbours meant that the volume and types of data collected have burgeoned.

Focus of the seminar

The seminar focused on the challenges of sharing this ever expanding volume and variety of information at this territorial level.

Seminar overview

The vision of smart places – cities and regions – depends on the effective sharing of information and data among a range of actors and agencies.

Early, technocratic visions of ‘cognitively’ smart places have been challenged and augmented by visions of creatively, critically or emotionally smart places and a new emphasis on health and wellbeing, quality of life, political engagement and bottom-up initiative.

The task is, therefore, no longer just a matter of sharing information among a small set of professional bureaucracies concerned with hard infrastructure – data from sensors, meters and cameras. It has been expanded to include information from a wider range of organisations and agencies and individuals, both directly and from aggregated social media feeds.

The kinds of information shared have changed too, from what have been seen as mainly hard factual data to more complex information on individual and collective opinions, perspectives and even moods.

In this seminar we asked the following questions:

  • What kinds of information do we need to share for what kinds of smart places?
  • What are the main drivers of, and barriers to, sharing such information?
  • How can public and corporate bureaucratic systems for information sharing, complex markets in information and the freely gifted information in the public sphere or commons be aligned, governed and managed?
  • How do our often conflicting ideas of data – as public or private, as 'open' or confidential, as private property or right (eg right to know), as hard facts or clues in need of interpretation – shape and delimit the opportunities for smart places?
  • How, if at all, can we effectively conceive of information sharing on such a scale?