Supporting human rights organisations to deliver insights from data

Date: 29-30 October 2015

Location: Wivenhoe House Hotel, University of Essex

Day 1

Thursday 29 October 2015


Prebooked taxis from Colchester Station


Coffee and registration


Louise Corti, UK Data Service


Introduction: ESRC’s Civil Society engagement and agenda
Christina Rowley, ESRC


Key Note, Neil Serougi, Trustee, Freedom from Torture: Standing out from the crowd. The value of 'data as evidence' in Civic Society.


Session 1: In house data collection: what do you have, what do you need and what skills do you have to analyse the data?

Session leader: Louise Corti, UK Data Service

Content: This session will focus on the types of data that organisations collect themselves, identifying pain points in collecting, cleaning, managing or collating data. It will look at what capacity and skills civil society organisations need (in house or in partnership) to undertake good data practices. We will hear from two organisations on how they manage data, and will use facilitated small group discussions to illuminate gaps and needs.


  • Tracey Gyateng, New Philanthropy Capital: The growth in data production collection. Opportunities and Challenges
  • Nigel Fielding, University of Surrey: Prisoner of the past of hidden resource: documentary records

Gathering data for international human rights work:

  • Roisin Read, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester: Driving a Ferrari into the desert and leaving it there? The challenges of information management UN peacekeeping and humanitarian NGOs.
  • Ingvill C. Mochmann, GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne: Children Born of War: expanding the evidence base on hidden populations.
  • Discussion

Prerequisite: Organisations will submit a brief overview of data types held and an overview of in-house data skills and capacity.

Potential workshop outcomes:

  • Overview of needs analysis within civil society organisations;
  • Guide on how to collect usable and sharable data (building on existing guidance)

Lunch break


Session 2: Making an Impact: Using Data Beyond Key Performance Indicators

Session leader: David Walker, The Guardian

Content: In this session we will look at how data gets translated into knowledge, be it at strategic or operational levels; for engagement, campaigning, community education or media reporting. A key aspect of this session will be to explore and understand how we might maximise the potential of data and intelligence with opinion formers/changers. We will examine the value of co-production, identifying opportunities where partnership models might improve the means to deliver 'knowledge benefits'. We will also look at the role of data in human rights reporting; understanding how human rights are received in the media and how evidence is articulated. A key outcome will be the opportunity to understand how data journalism may have changed reporting and what gets seen as relevant as opposed to just interesting.


  • Bob Jones, Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP): The challenges of using data to assess health needs and impact in conflict zones
  • Emma Prest, Manager DataKind UK: Enabling the application of pro bono data science to humanitarian problems
  • Megan Lucero, Data Journalism Editor, The Times and Sunday Times: Computational investigative journalism and how computing can advance accountability and public interest reporting.
  • Discussion

Potential workshop outcomes:

  • Brief overview of how reporting and campaigning is carried out in participants own organisations
  • Collated case studies from successful organisations



Session 3: Ethical frameworks and governance

Session leader: Libby Bishop, UK Data Archive

Content: In this session we will hear from a small panel of participants who will present short case studies of ethical issues encountered and/or successfully dealt with in the use of data from their own organisations. We will discuss under what circumstances data can be shared amongst civil society organisations using data sharing agreements to help foster collaboration. In identifying 'risk' and 'harm' from a data sharing perspective, we will examine disclosure risk vs. social benefits examining it in the Human Rights context. Who are the morally relevant participants?

Prerequisite: Organisations will submit a short case of an ethical issue or challenge they have experienced.


  • Jim Vine, Director of Evidence, Data and Insight, Housing Association Charitable Trust: Using a trusted intermediary to create insights from shared datasets in a collaborative sector
  • Civil Society Organisation case studies

Potential workshop outcomes:

  • Summary of ethical statements in organisations and solutions that have been/could be used to mitigate these;
  • Versions of the cases suitable for public sharing with comments from organisation members about how the solutions were implemented (based on cases in the Association for Research Ethic's monthly newsletter);
  • A short guide on making data shareable and optimal pathways to access.

Round up of todays’ issues and questions


Welcome drinks and networking

19.30 –

Workshop group meal, Bistro, Wivenhoe House

Day 2

Friday 30 October 2015


Session 4: Exploring opportunities for using third party data sources to provide context

Session leader: Louise Corti, UK Data Service

In this morning session we look at the potential for using third party data sources to provide broader context knowledge for organisations. What skills are needed to analyse these sources and how much trust can we place in them? How could meeting strategic goals of civil society organisations benefit from using multiple methods and bringing together different forms of formal and informal knowledge? What is the role of administrative records or ‘big data’ in this landscape? What kinds of tools are available to analyse these sources of data?


  • Hersh Mann,  UK Data Service: Sourcing ‘society’ data from the UK Data Service and beyond
  • Sian Oram, King's College London & Mike Emberson, Medaille: Mental health responses to human trafficking: qualitative data tools
  • Matt Williams & Luke Sloan. Cardiff University: Gaining insights from social media data: Collection, analysis and interpretation
  • Discussion

Prerequisite: Organisations will consider any potential data sources participants want to use or think could be useful.

Potential workshop outcomes:

  • Database of suggested useful third party data sources


Coffee break


Session 5: Summing up: what has been learned and what are next step challenges?

Session leader: Neil Serougi

In this session before lunch we will review what we have heard and discussed over the past day and think about, 'now what'? We ask participants to identify one concrete activity they may now be better positioned to pursue.


Session 5: Surgeries with data experts and lunch

Session facilitators: UK Data Service staff and speakers

This session allows participants to discuss in more depth any issues that their organisation faces with respect to the collection, management and use of data/information with experts from the workshop. This can either be joining a table to discuss a specific topic led by experts, or a one-to-one discussion about any topic or their choice.


Prebooked taxis to Colchester Station

Back to top  

Helpdesk queries and support services will be restricted on Monday 26 July 2021 and will fully resume on Tuesday 27 July 2021.