30 September 2022

Gavin Freeguard
Warning: Graphic Content
7 min readSep 30, 2022


Mersey mission

I know this is what everyone returning from Liverpool is saying, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a Labour conference that was so positive, professional and quietly purposeful. (And I’ve been to every one since 2012, I think. Goodness knows what I did in a past life to deserve that.)

Labour force: chairing an event on better data for public services in the coveted Monday 8am slot, with (l-r) Nick Davies (IfG), Matt Davies (ODI, no relation), me, Helen Milner (Good Things), and Antonio Weiss (The PSC). Credit: IfG

There’s still a lot of work to do and a lot of policy to develop, but we’re starting to see the contours of the next manifesto — including around data, harnessing the power of which is one of the pillars of Labour’s new industrial strategy. Plenty of detail which civil society and other readers might find it useful to fill in, not least how a Labour government should earn the public trust it considers important. I hope we start to see some clear principles and positions emerge over the next few months that go beyond ‘government said it would do this and hasn’t’ opposition lines which betray the lack of alternative policy, especially with various bills coming back to parliament at some point (presumably).

I thoroughly enjoyed the two IfG events I chaired, on better data in public services and how to govern in the digital age — audio recordings to follow, but you can relive the live tweets in the meantime.

Birmingham next week for Conservative conference promises to be an experience. I’m there on the Tuesday, where I’ll be chairing an IfG/Bright Initiative event on the better use of data in public services. Drop me a DM if you’re around.

[UPDATE: Here are the digital/data events at Conservative Party Conference]

A few other tasty data-related morsels:

There’ll be no newsletter for the next couple of weeks, so here’s a bumper advance listing of what I’m going to be up to:

Have a great few weeks

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Today’s links:

Graphic content

Taking a pounding

Poll tax


The economy, stupid

Weather the weather


Haven’t the energy



Out of this world

Meta data

Open for the best, expecting the worst

Law games

AI got ‘rithm

UK government

Information health

Work social

Everything else


And finally…