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Civil Service Data Challenge unveils longlist of ideas to improve use of data

The Civil Service Data Challenge has unveiled its longlist of ideas proposing how the government can make better use of data.

The challenge, which launched earlier this year in March, called upon civil servants’ to submit ideas on how data can be used to improve service delivery, policy making and operational efficiency.

A total of 8 ideas were shortlisted from 200 submissions, and each of them will be tested to assess their viability, potential benefits and obstacles for delivery.

 “The competition so far has clearly demonstrated how valuable our civil servants’ ideas are and highlights the importance of bringing different minds together to explore how current business practices can be improved,” said Alex Chisholm, the Civil Service’s COO and permanent secretary to the Cabinet Office.

“We’ve seen extremely innovative ideas submitted that have a real chance to improve and influence staff tools, policy-making, and enable us to deliver a greater service to the public,” he added.

Some of the ideas include using data for gathering better statistics on the distribution of UK citizens abroad, tracking medicines stocks and movements to safeguard future supplies, deploying AI to protect and enhance the UK’s peatlands, and more. 

Of the 8 ideas, just four will make it through to the live presentation final in December 2021.

The final panel of judges comprises some of the most senior digital and data leaders in government, with representatives from the Cabinet Office, NHSX, and HMRC among those who will be selecting the best ideas. 

The best ideas will also receive technical advice and development support from NTT DATA UK and backing from top civil servants to help convert those ideas into reality.

“The response to the Civil Service Data Challenge has been fantastic. It’s providing a platform for civil servants to share their ideas for using data to directly improve services for the public, and see those ideas brought to life,” Vicki Chauhan, head of public sector at NTT DATA UK.

“We are looking forward to working with the judges and civil servant teams to help these ideas realise the potential of data within government,” Chauhan added.