‘Deliver the plan, develop your people and set out the future’: Five minutes with Public Service Data Live speaker Chris Bellamy, director of publishing, GOV.UK

By on 13/09/2023 | Updated on 13/09/2023

In this sister series to our ‘Five minutes with’ interviews, we share insights from the civil and public service leaders who will speak at Public Service Data Live in London on 14 September.

In this interview, Chris Bellamy, director of publishing, GOV.UK, at the Government Digital Service – who will join the conference session on how data can create citizen-centric services – tells GGF about learning from Denmark and hosting a delegation of women from Ukraine who work in digital.

Register now: Public Service Data Live | Thursday 14 September 2023 | Business Design Centre, London

What are you most excited about sharing at Public Service Data Live?

At GOV.UK, the digital home for the UK Government, we make sure all our work is informed by data. This data takes lots of different forms. For example, it could be using analytics, or it could be user feedback or user research, or it could be polling. At Public Service Data Live I’m excited to talk about the breadth of this work, and show how it can inform policy decisions – and therefore make it easier for the millions of people that use GOV.UK to interact with government.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your working life?

As a leader you need to deliver the plan, develop your people and set out the future.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the public service?

To remember that everyone’s digital career path in the civil service takes a different route. Take the opportunity to speak to seniors you admire and ask them how they got there, and you’re unlikely to find a linear career path.

What data innovations from other countries have inspired you?

I have just returned from a study trip to Copenhagen, and was inspired by the way that different government services can share data in Denmark. This enables a much more rapid delivery of services to people in need, and ensures that government support is taken up. I was particularly interested to see this as GOV.UK’s strategy for growth wants to help ensure that people take up the support they are entitled to.

Can you name an example of learning from abroad that has helped you and your colleagues?

The Government Digital Service (GDS) recently hosted a delegation of incredible women working in digital from Ukraine, as part of a study tour to the UK. We were able to hear about the digitisation across the country, with details about the Diia app and portal, and share our learning from our work on GOV.UK.

Are there any projects or innovations in the UK that might be valuable to your peers overseas?

Yes, there are lots! One example which I think will resonate with a lot of other digital governments is how we make the most of the feedback we receive via data science techniques. On every GOV.UK page there is an option at the end of the page to leave feedback – and we use machine learning to help sort and categorise and remove spam. This was particularly of help during COVID-19, where we could rapidly sort feedback and share with the relevant teams – you can read more about the work here.

What is your dream holiday destination?

I am lucky enough to live close to the Lake District in the north of England. This means I get to go fell walking regularly, which is my favourite hobby to do. So, for me my dream holiday destination would be to be permanently based in Cumbria with instant access to all these incredible hikes.

What was the first piece of music you bought?

Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life.

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