Getting the most out of government data

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November 1, 2022
Data & ID

Governments are collecting ever greater amounts of data as many public services move online, and as citizens chose to interact with government through websites and apps.

This adds to the information that government holds on the needs of its citizens across a host of central and local public services, such as health, education, demography and employment.

This information proved useful during the coronavirus pandemic, when they suddenly and unexpectedly were combined to, for example, identify vulnerable children for education support during coronavirus lockdown or to provide food delivers and other support to people who were clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus.

However, the information hidden in such data is not harnessed in government’s day-to-day operations. Often, issues around data sharing between different government entities hinder the sharing of information that could help improve services, or the data is not accessible, or different data sets are updated at different frequencies.

This session looked at how these obstacles can be overcome, considering:

  • Best practice from different governments around the world on data use
  • How to standardize and improve collection to aid use of data in policy making and evaluation
  • The lessons from the use of data in the COVID-19 pandemic can be applied to government’s standard operating procedures


Oliver Wise, Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce

Oliver Wise is Chief Data Officer at the Department of Commerce. In this position, Wise is responsible for leading the Commerce Department’s data strategy, advancing capacity for evidence-based decision-making by implementing the Evidence Act and aligning and scaling the department’s data resources to better meet the needs of users.

Wise was the founding director of the City of New Orleans Office of Performance and Accountability, the city’s first data analytics and performance management team. This work was recognized with awards from the American Society of Public Administration, International City/County Managers Association, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Harvard University. In 2015, Wise was named to Government Technology’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers” list.  In the private sector, Wise served in product management and strategic roles at Tyler Technologies and Socrata.

Earlier in his career, Wise was a policy analyst for the RAND Corporation and the Citizens Budget Commission of New York City. He is also a co-founder of the Santorini-based Atlantis Books.  He holds an MPA from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, and is most proud of his incredible family.

Ott Velsberg, Government Chief Data Officer, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Estonia

Dr Ott Velsberg is the current Chief Data Officer of Estonian Government with experience in coordinating data governance and data science, including domains of artificial intelligence, open data, citizen-centric data governance, once-only principle, data management, government-to-business data exchange and much more. He has lead Estonia to a trendsetter status in data governance, open data and artificial intelligence. 


Antonio Manzi, National Director, Transfers and Data Analysis, Ministry of Social Development, Uruguay

Antonio Manzi is the current National Director of Transfers and Data Analysis at the Ministry of Social Development in Uruguay, in charge of managing monetary transfer programs for socioeconomically vulnerable households. His directorate also of monitors and evaluates the Ministry´s social programs, providing data analysis services on their performance, and maintaining the Integrated Information System for Social Matters (SIIAS), which collects individual-level data from more than 30 government institutions, providing a broad view of access to social services, reducing fragmentation and providing efficiency in the delivery of social policies.

Before this role, he was political officer at the British Embassy in Uruguay, analyst at the Central Bank of Uruguay, junior consultant at Towers Watson (now Willis Towers Watson) and analyst at a service provider for PwC.

Antonio is part of the Chevening Alumni Network, winning a scholarship from the UK government to obtain a master’s degree in Management and Public Policy at King´s College London. During his stay in the UK, he co-funded Bloomsbury Policy Group (BPG), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization with a mission to promote innovative and evidence-informed policymaking that improves the economic, social, and political development of Latin America.

Henrik Ernlund Pedersen, Country Manager Denmark & Head of Public Sales Nordic, SAS

Henrik Ernlund Pedersen is the Country Manager for SAS in Denmark, the Sales Director for the Public Sector in the Nordics, and the Chairman of the SAS EMEA Government Industry Board which oversees strategy and focus in EMEA, drives Innovation around solutions for Government, and facilitates cross country collaboration. He is a committed leader who is passionate about how data, technology and analytics can improve government effectiveness and service. Henrik is a member of the Board of the Danish Industry Association for Digitalization (DI) which is currently working on recommendation for the Danish Government on their 2030 Digitalization Strategy. Additionally, he is a member of the Advisory Board at AI Innovation House in Denmark which is an innovation playground for digitalization and AI with the aim of bringing the latest knowledge to eye level so it can be translated into practical solutions and boost growth for Danish companies. Henrik is driven by his strong belief in the ability of artificial intelligence and analytics to put government data to work and contribute to improved effectiveness, decisioning, and outcomes.

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.