Neil McIvor

Chief Data Officer, Department for Education

Neil McIvor headshot

Neil McIvor became Chief Data Officer at the Department for Education in October 2017. He has responsibility for the department’s enterprise-wide data and information strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective exploitation. 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.

Prior to this, Neil served as the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Deputy Head of Profession for Statistics from 2012, and temporary Chief Data Officer from 2016, moving briefly to the Office for National Statistics to run Business Data Operations and Student Migration statistics.

Neil started his career in the Civil Service in 2001, becoming a professionally accredited statistician in 2003. He joined DWP 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 in the 2000s and 2010s.

“Covid has shown us that data is at the heart of everything we do; without data we would not have known the impact of the pandemic on schools and colleges, pupils and students; we would not have known the impacts of government’s interventions on controlling the pandemic; we would not know if our policies are not just delivering, but working. We would not be sighted on where we have to intervene to ensure children are safe and secure, and receiving the help and support they need.

“Many of the country’s policy priorities are cross-cutting, with data sitting across many organisations. This is why I am supporting ADR UK in driving better linking of data across organisational boundaries – looking for innovative ways either to collect, share or use data in safe environments, to drive better insights and better decisions for a better future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”