Head of Data and Insight at Barnardo’s
Little did Remi Martins-Tonks know that he would be passed the baton his mother shared, who worked as an Assistant Director and Interim Director of Children’s Services in various local authorities.
Fulfilling a successful career, which led to his current position as the Head of Data and Insight at Barnardo’s, Martins-Tonks’ vision of himself has evolved over time as he acknowledges his analytical abilities—a staple characteristic in his line of work.
Joining Barnardo’s to incorporate data and economics into its decision-making processes, Martins-Tonks has found his true colours as a leader, resulting in him taking on the position he holds today. This involves leading the charity’s team of data professionals and also had a critical role supporting the organisation during the coronavirus pandemic.
This role allows Martins-Tonks to utilise his innate ability to source and bring in talented individuals (both within and outside of the charity) that drive forward the work of the organisation. However, he has also seen his fair share of challenges as a leader, one of which is unity—understanding the needs of his team to bring its members together and further Barnardo’s work.
From a data standpoint, he is heavily involved in improving the data-driven culture of the charity. This meant embedding it into all processes, starting with the team he leads and echoing it through to the frontline to support decision making throughout the organisation.
“We're getting great feedback on what we're doing. We know that, if people use the data products that we're building then, ultimately, they will be better equipped to help children and young people through our services,” says Martins-Tonks.
“The biggest challenge is around embedding a data culture to ensure that people are curious and confident to use the technology and the data products that we’re building.”
Educated economist working with data
Martins-Tonks’ career began with an internship with the Government Economic Service, which took place during his years at the University of Nottingham. To this, he attributes a greater understanding of economics and the application of his learning to real-world functions.
From there, he studied a master’s degree at the University of Warwick before moving on to Oxera, where he held the role of analyst followed by consultant. His work at Oxera led him down an analytics line of work, with Martins-Tonks taking part in various economic modelling tasks under the umbrella of economic impact assessment.
“That was a great place to learn,” he says. “It was a fast-paced environment. You had to learn on the job really quickly.
“After a period of time, I wanted to do something that was closer aligned to my values, and that’s what led me to applying for a job at Barnardo’s.”
Strategically aligned with the charity's heritage values, Martins-Tonks continues to champion the charity’s work and enhance the experience for both staff and the children, young people and families they support.
“I’ve been in this role for two years, leading the data insight department, which was a huge jump at the time because I went from managing a team of seven people to around 25. We’ve been growing ever since because there’s been more emphasis on the benefits that data provides.”
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