Fiona O’Donoghue

Fiona O’Donoghue

Senior Digital and Marketing Consultant

Fiona has over 15 years of experience, and a proven track record of leading award-winning integrated campaigns for both global consumer and B2B brands. Fiona has a wealth of experience in crafting compelling digital and social media campaigns for private sector and listed companies across a range of dynamic industries including including NGK Spare Plugs, Vauxhall, EA Games, SEGA, Parrot, American Express, Universal, 4Music, The National Lottery, Nuffield Health, NCB Cayman, and everyLIFE Technologies.Her specialisation lies in developing and executing integrated marketing strategies that elevate brand recognition, engage target audiences, and drive tangible results

Steven Stewart

Steven Stewart

Senior Public Affairs Consultant

Steven has more than 30 years’ communications experience, from working with entrepreneurs and FTSE-listed corporates to public services and media. 

A former Director of Communications with Stagecoach Group, Steven has specific experience of the public transport and logistics sectors, as well as local government and sustainability. He has fostered positive connections in local and national government, with business organisations, and community and campaigning groups.

His expertise includes communications strategy, storytelling, and stakeholder engagement, working with businesses and organisations to develop lasting partnerships. He also has extensive experience of managing high-profile crisis incidents in the UK and overseas.

Steven has been a Chamber of Commerce Director for 15 years and has undertaken leading roles in regional leadership, sustainability, skills development, and ambassador programmes in Scotland.

Joe Churcher

Joe Churcher

Senior Communications Consultant

Joe is a writer and editor with more than three decades’ experience of producing highly-engaging written material on a wide array of subjects.

His career in journalism included 16 years covering Westminster politics for the Press Association (news agency) and six at the UK’s biggest selling regional daily paper, helping lead its transformation into a digital-first news operation.

Now working for himself as a copywriter and consultant (from his home on Scotland’s north-east coast), he puts a keen understanding of how to reach target audiences, an eye for detail and an ease with meeting deadlines to work for clients from businesses and industry groups to charities and community projects.

Gail Downey

Gail Downey

Multimedia Producer and Media Trainer

Gail is our media trainer and crisis communications specialist for clients wanting real experience and insight into how journalists and newsrooms operate. Having worked in national news, current affairs and the regional media for BBC and ITV, she uses those skills to help clients tell their story.  She’ll challenge woolly thinking but is excellent at building rapport and confidence in clients facing everything from Panorama to local radio, print and specialist media. As a TV and radio reporter. Gail works in the UK and overseas with government bodies such as the FCDO, multinational companies, logistics, pharmaceuticals, academia and charities, and has made films with us for the British Council, ODI, universities and government organisations.  

ODI Summit

Recreating the Open Data Institute’s annual Summit event in a virtual environment and cementing the ODI’s position as the leading data authority

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Rachel Fernandez-Vidal

Rachel Fernandez-Vidal

Marketing Manager | Senior Account Manager

Rachel has over 15 years’ experience in multimedia consumer marketing, delivering award-winning campaigns for brands such as Starbucks, John Lewis, Change4Life and Sony Music.

She specialises in strategic communications and content, creative solutions, brand narrative and storytelling.

Prior to joining Allegory, Rachel spent three years working as Marketing Director for an independent beauty brand, leading a strategic branding, marketing and design function in-house.

Kristin Hadland

Kristin Hadland


Kristin is a former television journalist who recently moved into communications after a long career as an award-winning producer-director.

She spent 10 years on the staff of the BBC, starting as a reporter in regional news, progressing rapidly into news editor roles, and later working on the flagship current affairs programme Panorama.

As a freelance producer-director and series producer Kristin has worked for all the major broadcasters, where her credits include Channel 4 Dispatches: Britain’s Cheap Clothes, BBC1’s Helicopter Heroes, and ITV1’s The Murder of Rhys Jones: Police Tapes.

Throughout her career Kristin’s goal has been to produce television programmes that make a difference to peoples’ lives and she is continuing with that ambition by sharing her journalistic insights and storytelling skills with people whose values align with her own.

Her first clients include Donna Ockenden, who is leading the Independent Review of Maternity Services at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and Allegory, where she works on the Open Data Institute & The Alan Turing Institute accounts.

COVID-19 pandemic: Public opinion shifts on data and tech

hand and speech bubbles to represent opinions

The public is broadly supportive of the application of data and technology during COVID-19 but governance and transparency are critical to trust.

Public attitudes towards data and technology have significantly shifted during the COVID-19 crisis thanks to tools aimed at suppressing the virus and coping with its effects.

Data-driven technology has been used effectively in response to the pandemic and to mitigate the impact of lockdown.

These are the headlines of a report called COVID-19 Repository & Public Attitudes published by The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI).

The CDEI has explored the application of data and technology during the pandemic and documented them in a repository. It also conducted a longitudinal survey of public opinion among 12,000 individuals between June and December 2020.

The report records a broad range of applications including contact tracing and an algorithm to determine qualifications in the absence of exams.

Other innovative applications include drones used to deliver medical supplies in remote regions and the creation of health equipment databases to monitor the availability of assets in the NHS.

The CDEI report suggests that the use of digital technology has increased since the start of COVID-19. It suggests that this trend is likely to continue the long-term, pointing to changing attitudes resulting from the benefit observed during the crisis.

Awareness of technology and adoption during COVID-19

Almost three-quarters (72%) of the UK population believe that digital technology has the potential to be used in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a view that is consistent across all demographic groups and regions.

However not everyone thinks that the full potential of data and technology is being realised. Fewer than half (42%) believe that digital technology is making the situation in the UK better, and 39% said they thought the technology is not being used properly.

Governance and transparency critical to public trust

Governance and transparency are the primary concern of the public in ensuring trust in data and technology. Almost a quarter of the public (24%) do not believe that the right rules and regulations are in place to ensure that digital technology is used responsibly in the UK’s COVID-19 response. This is largely consistent across age, region, and gender.

More than two in five people (43%) believe regulation is appropriate. 39% of younger people would know where to raise these complaints if governance was failing. This falls to 14% for older people.

Media coverage of data increased during COVID-19

Social media has seen a boom during the pandemic however when it comes to news consumption, traditional news sources remain the dominant source. Media coverage of artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies is contributing to public discourse and adoption.

According to the CDEI report there has been a 54% year-on-year increase in the number of articles in UK newspapers reporting on topics such as AI, algorithms, and data. The increase is driven by the pandemic notably among tabloid media.

CDEI is an independent expert committee, led by a board of specialists, set up and tasked by the UK government to investigate and advise on how we maximise the benefits of data-driven technologies.