Automating Decision Making

Discussion table

Learn from
Alan Howie

Chief Data Officer


Alan has worked with data for over 33 years, with his first system analysing “Mushroom Compost” back in 1986 before starting his Computer Science degree course. He got into spatial data in 2000 and hasn’t looked back, working with some of the biggest spatial data organisations in the UK. Alan joined Registers of Scotland in 2016 as their Data Architect and in 2019 became their first Chief Data Officer.

Fionn Tynan-O’Mahony

Head of Experience Design


Fionn Tynan-O'Mahony is a designer, strategist and consultant currently leading the engagement of Sopra Steria's Experience Design practice. He has a background in Product Design and Design Informatics, exploring how we 'design with data' and understanding how data transforms our social landscape and everyday interactions. He is a member of the Design Justice Network and currently sits on the steering board for the Institute of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh - an award-winning research centre designing systems for better human data interaction. Previously, he led a design team with Natwest's Open Experience - an innovation lab focused on designing new services with emerging technology.
About the session

The Government has called for greater data literacy across the Civil Service - and automation can help improve the quality and efficiency of decision-making processes. To ensure that automated systems are accurate, reliable, and legally compliant, stakeholder engagement will be crucial in the design and deployment of these systems, along with measuring their impact on key outcomes.

  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of using automation to support decision-making processes within the Civil Service? 
  • What kind of data infrastructure and governance frameworks are required to support these systems?
  • What kind of safeguards and oversight mechanisms are necessary to prevent misuse or abuse of automated decision-making systems?
  • How can we engage stakeholders, including citizens, civil society groups, and other government agencies, in the design and deployment of automated decision-making systems?
  • To build trust in automated decision-making systems, how can we measure and evaluate the impact of these systems on key outcomes, such as efficiency, equity, and effectiveness?