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New Year’s Honours hails open data, digital delivery

Brian McKenna

A week after Alan Turing was granted a royal pardon, a clutch of contemporary British IT luminaries has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Jeni Tennison, technical director at the Open Data Institute (ODI), has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire "for services to Technology and Open Data".

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Before joining the ODI, Tennison was the technical architect and lead developer for Legislation.gov.uk, which, said a statement from the Institute, formed the basis of The National Archives’ strategy for bringing the UK’s legislation up to date as open, public data.

Open Data Institute founders Nigel Shadbolt and Tim Berners-Lee welcomed the news that Tennison has received an OBE.

Shadbolt said: “Jeni inspires affection, loyalty and admiration in all who know her. She has a special blend of deep technical know-how and an intuitive sense of what works in the world of the web.”

Before taking up her post at the ODI, Tennison worked with Shadbolt on the early linked data work on Data.gov.uk.

She has also contributed to international standards through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She was appointed by Tim Berners-Lee to the W3C’s Technical Architecture Group in 2011. 

Berners-Lee said: “Jeni has put a huge amount of effort into the worlds of open data, and web technology in general. She has done this with a blend of leadership, insight, and deep technical knowledge.”

Tennison said: “I am very honoured to be awarded an OBE. To me it’s a recognition that the work we do – developing open source software, collaborating on open standards, and supporting the publication and use of open data – is done for the benefit of society.”

Mike Bracken, executive director for the Government Digital Service, has been enlisted as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire [CBE] "for services to Digital Public Services and voluntary service in the London Borough of Hackney". 

Bracken is a former head of technology at the Guardian and was named as the sixth most influential person in UK IT in this year’s Computer Weekly UKTech50. He is responsible for improving the government’s digital delivery of public services in a cross-Whitehall role. His team launched Gov.uk.

Iain Gray, chief executive officer for the Technology Strategy Board, has become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for "services to Science, Technology and Innovation".

Warren East, lately chief executive at ARM Holdings, also received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire award for "services to the Technology Industry".

William Crothers, the government’s chief procurement officer received a CBE for “services to Government Efficiency and Commercial Capability”.

In total, 1,195 people received an award. Science and technology made up 2% of the total.


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