Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise

2015-16 Seminars

2015-16 Seminars


This ESRC seminar series focuses on the challenges posed by information sharing in the delivery of public services. The second year of seminars ran from November 2015 to March 2016.

The second year of seminars included:

ESRC logo

Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science Seminar: How do you Talk to People if they don't Exist?

This seminar took place in the London Fire Brigade HQ, 169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL on 9 November 2015, 9.00 - 16.00.


Over the last ten years, fire and rescue services have become really good at working with partners to target their community safety work and drive down the numbers of fires, injuries and fatalities. However, there are a small, undefinable number of people who just never show up on the radar. Falling through the cracks can lead to tragic results and many fatal fire case reviews bear this out.

Focus of the seminar

Led by the Chief Fire Officers Association, this event considered information sharing techniques to improve fire safety outcomes.

This seminar looked at how better information sharing approaches can help fire and rescue services innovate in how to work with partners, old and new, to pinpoint the hard to reach.

By the end of the seminar, delegates were able to identify new ways to locate at-risk members of communities choosing from a range of information sharing techniques and examples.

This event was in association with Professor Rob Wilson's ESRC Seminar Series on Information Sharing in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.

Panel Debate: Info Sharing

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

This seminar took place on Wednesday 9 March 2016 at 18.30-20.30, House of Commons.

The Westminster Hall debate, sponsored by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC), saw 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.

Focus of the seminar

The focus of the seminar was to assess what we can learn from international experiences in the USA and New Zealand and how it is set to evolve in the future. Leading academics with expertise in this area participated in the event, including:

The debate was chaired by Chi Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central and participating on the panel will be Matt Warman, Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness.


Seminar: Info Sharing

ESRC/KITE International Seminar on Information Sharing - Up, Open and Personal about Data? Learning from USA and New Zealand.

This seminar took place on Thursday 10 March 2016, 13.30-15.30 at Newcastle University Business School.

The Seminar was chaired by Professor Rob Wilson.

There were two presentations from leading international scholars in the field of Digital Government and Information Sharing. 

Understanding and Explaining Online Information-sharing Behaviours of New Zealanders: A New Taxonomy

Although research evidence shows that people have strong concerns about their privacy online, this doesn't necessarily mean that they don't share their personal information in varying online relationships.

This presentation explored the empirical research findings of a New Zealand-based study into people's actual online information-sharing behaviours rather than their attitudes: the motivations, extent, and conditions under which individuals share their personal information in varying online relationships with commercial providers, with government, and on social networking sites.

Grounded theory methodology and an abductive analysis were used to identify patterns in the findings and construct a new taxonomy of online information-sharing behaviours: contrary to existing taxonomies, all participants in this study are very privacy aware and make quite deliberate choices about what personal information they share online, with whom, to what extent, and under what circumstances.

Four distinctive classifications of people's online information-sharing behaviours were derived from this study:

  • privacy pragmatists
  • privacy victims
  • privacy optimists
  • privacy fatalists

Professor Miriam LipsVictoria University, New Zealand

A Realistic Look at Open Government Data

The basic assumption of the open data movement is that more intensive and creative use of information and technology can improve policy-making and generate new forms of public value. These efforts can focus on:

  • education
  • public health
  • transportation
  • environmental stewardship
  • economic development
  • many other areas.

Each application has its own substantive considerations, forms of expertise, and interests. Ironically, information is often treated as a black box in the open data movement. Stakeholders, analytical techniques, and technology tools all receive considerable attention. But information is often seen as a given, used uncritically, and trusted without examination.

However, the very kind of data that is now being released from administrative systems as 'open data' was collected or created for other purposes. It has undeniable potential value, but it also substantial risks for validity, relevance, and trust.

Professor Sharon Dawes, Rockefeller School of Government, Albany University, USA

Panel debate 

The presentations were followed by a panel debate featuring Stephen Curtis from the HM Government-funded Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing.