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Daniel Hallam - Making sure marine data is useful

Daniel Hallam from the Marine Management Organisation tells us that his job has just as much focus on people as it does on data.

Transcript below:

– So you want to introduce yourself?

Hi, my name's Daniel Hallam. I'm the data manager for the Marine Management Organisation.

– Cool. What do you actually do in the Marine Management Organisation? It's part of the Defra group...what do you actually do, and how does that involve data?

As an organisation, we manage the UK fisheries. We also look at licensing of anything you want to put on or remove from the sea bed, and we also do marine planning - a bit like town and country planning, but for the sea. As data manager, my role is getting the information people need to make decision and policy, and help them understand that information so they use it in the right context.

– What do you think to an event like you think it's important that we have something like this?

I think it's really important. A lot of people in this room I first met when we were trying to deliver the 8000 datasets of open data for Defra, and this is really building on those sorts of relationships, and it's allowing us to build them even bigger - making sure we know who each other are and that we're all working together.

–I guess that's the really important thing: becoming a more data-driven organisation?

Absolutely...and that's the way I see the work going. I would like to see us using data more effectively; being more open about not only what the data is, but how we're using it, so we can show we're being data-driven. We're not just making this up; you know - we care about this, and we want to let other people know that we're using data properly, and there is a reason for us doing what we do.

– I'm going to throw in a bit of a curve-ball here: what's your day-to-day job...I mean, sometimes you post tweets of you actually diving - how often are you doing that kind of thing?

Oh...not at all. In previous jobs, I used to be at the bottom of the sea counting things. I don't get to do that any more, but I still do it in my spare time. These days I'm mainly at a desk job. I talk a lot; a lot of my work is actually working with people, rather than the data. The data kind of sorts itself out, but it's making sure that I understand what people want to achieve so I can help them achieve it. There's a lot of detail behind that, but yo probably don't need to know that today.

– Finally, where do you see data in Defra going?

I think like I was saying before: I think it's more integration, and more transparency. We want to show our working: how we're using people can point out, you know, there might be a better way of doing it, or we might have missed something, or it might give us an opportunity to clarify why we're doing things in a certain way.

– Thanks Dan, thanks for your time.

My pleasure.

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