From castles to open government: Five minutes with Public Service Data Live speaker Doreen Grove from the Scottish Government

By on 05/09/2023 | Updated on 07/09/2023
Five minutes with graphic with Doreen Grove Head, Open Government, Scottish Government

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, Doreen Grove, the head of open government at Scottish Government – who will join the conference session on how data can be used to create citizen-centric services – tells GGF about using data to improve democracy, being inspired by Ukraine’s Prozorro procurement platform, and making her own clothes.

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

What drew you to a career in the public service? 

Castles. I was an inspector of ancient monuments.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome in your career? 

Moving from being a specialist (I am an archaeologist) to applying that learning about how a country thinks of its past to supporting a modern and forward looking narrative of reform.

If you could introduce one reform, what would it be?

Government would understand its role to provide for the needs of its people.

Which civil or public servant – past or present – do you most admire and why?

Adomnáin. He wrote the Lex Innocentium (Law of the Innocents), which was ratified at a synod of Irish, Dál Riatan and Pictish notables in 697.

Are there data innovations from other countries that have inspired you?

Prozorro in Ukraine [a public electronic procurement system where state and municipal organisations announce tenders to purchase goods, works and services, and business representatives compete for the opportunity to become a state supplier]. And the fiscal transparency portal in Mexico.

Can you name a project or initiative that might be valuable to your peers overseas?  

I work a great deal with the OECD and Open Government Partnership on using data and information to improve democracy. There is so much to learn from others. The work on AI registers in the Netherlands and Finland is a good place to start.

What attributes do you most value in people? 

Kindness and honesty.

Is there something about you that people find surprising?   

I make my own clothes.

What is your most treasured possession?

Paintings by my daughter (she is a very good artist).

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