Data Interoperability & Integration

Discussion table

Learn from
Siân Thomas

Chief Data Officer


Siân is the Chief Data Officer for
Neil McIvor

Chief Data Officer, and Chief Statistician


Neil McIvor became the Chief Data Officer and Chief Statistician at the Department for Education in October 2017. Neil started his career in the Civil Service in 2001, becoming a professionally accredited statistician in 2003 following achieving a first class honours degree in Mathematics with the Open University. Neil joined the Department for Work and Pensions in 2004, where his first role was to build a billion record pseudonymised individual level database, linking benefit and employment spells for all UK adults that had been on welfare benefits at some point since 1998. This Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study became the backbone for social analysis of welfare and employment throughout the 2000’s and 2010’s.  Neil also spent some time as lead analyst on disability employment issues, before becoming policy lead for specialist disability employment, and disability benefits.

In 2012, Neil returned to his statistical roots, to become the Department for Work and Pensions Deputy Head of Profession for Statistics, and became DWP’s temporary Chief Data Officer in 2016, moving briefly to the Office for National Statistics to run Business Data Operations, and Student Migration statistics, before moving to his current role, where Neil has responsibility for the departments enterprise wide data and information strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective automated data collections and data sharing. Neil also runs the Department’s Data Protection Office and Knowledge and Information Management teams.


The role combines accountability and responsibility for information protection and privacy, information governance, data quality and data life cycle management, along with the exploitation of data assets to create insight.


Neil was voted the 7th most influential data leader in the UK DATAIQ 2020 and one of the UK’s top 10 data leaders in 2022.

Rich Buckley

VP Consulting Expert


Rich joined CGI in 2020 and worked initially as the solution architect and technical lead on the Nerimnet project for BEIS. More recently, Rich has been working with the Office for National Statistics on an application modernisation programme.
Outside of project work, Rich is actively involved with CGI software communities and has interest in delivery automation, cloud technologies, Elasticsearch and machine learning.
Rich promotes knowledge sharing and continuous learning, encouraging well-written technical documentation to explain the “why”, not just the “what”. His core skills include software engineering, micro-service architectures, cloud native software and Elasticsearch.
About the session

Improved data interoperability is a game changer for government operations. By breaking down data silos and integrating data from a greater range of sources, government organisations can gain a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the issues they are addressing. This will empower decision-makers with greater insights and data-driven decision-making that can lead to more efficient and effective service delivery, increased citizen satisfaction, and better outcomes for society as a whole. 

  • How do current approaches to data interoperability and integration need to change in order to enable more seamless and joined-up service delivery across different agencies and departments? 
  • What kind of technology infrastructure and data governance frameworks are necessary to support data sharing and collaboration across different government agencies and departments?
  • What kind of data quality assessments and audits are necessary to ensure that data is fit for purpose, and that it meets the needs of different stakeholders?
  • How can data interoperability and integration help to support more personalised and targeted service delivery within the Civil Service? 
  • Where will this have the quickest impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations?