2024 longlist for Civil Service Data Challenge announced

By on 31/01/2024 | Updated on 01/02/2024
A picture of the Civil Service Data Challenge prize trophies

The longlist for the 2024 Civil Service Data Challenge has been revealed, with projects setting out how the UK government could make better use of the data it collects.

The competition sees civil servants produce the best ideas to improve data use across government and is run in collaboration between the Cabinet Office, Global Government Forum, NTT DATA and the Office for National Statistics.

Last year’s winner of the challenge, Project Heyrick, is focused on making better use of government information to identify and tackle modern slavery, while the winning project from 2022 made strides to protect the UK’s peatlands using innovative Generative Adversarial Networks.

Read more:
Modern slavery detection plan triumphs in UK Data Challenge
An ideas accelerator: how the UK’s Data Challenge built two new public services

The contenders for this year’s challenge are proposals suggesting the use of generative AI, geospatial optimisation, natural language processing and IoT data collection.

The eight ideas that form the longlist for the semi-finals of the Civil Service Data Challenge 2024 are:

  • NHS Geospatial Planning Tool – using open-source software and publicly accessible datasets to support NHS workers in planning visits to patients’ homes, reducing emissions through optimised travel planning and promoting high-quality care.
  • DWP Training Tender Evaluation – applying generative AI technologies to summarise, score, and compare supplier bids in a faster manner, with the right controls in place.
  • Streamlining the NHS-DWP Death Data Exchange – reducing the latency for data sharing between the NHS and DWP to reduce the burden on bereaved citizens, the duplication of workloads across the civil service and overpayment of benefits.
  • Border Control Queue Optimisation – merging datasets to reduce passenger queue times and better manage operational resources at border control in airports.
  • Policy Summarisation with Gen AI – introducing generative AI to revolutionise how government departments create policy documents and policy summaries, enabling efficient roll-out of policy and equipping staff with the right tools.
  • Unlocking Unstructured Prison Data – applying advanced data analytics to incident and case notes, uncovering new insights that will enhance the management and safety of prisons.
  • Optimising Prison Space Management – using algorithms and analytics to create a solution that predicts when and where prison spaces will become available to make better use of the current estate.
  • Accurate Electrical Vehicle Usage Distribution Mapping – gathering better data on the geographical usage of EVs to drive more targeted investment into local-level EV charging infrastructure and support the uptake of EVs across the country.

This year, the Civil Service Data Challenge is being sponsored by Alex Chisholm, the chief operating officer of the civil service.

The longlisted ideas were selected by the 2024 judging panel, which includes Vicki Chauhan, head of public sector, NTT DATA UK (the chair of Judges); Simon Bourne, chief digital, data and technology officer, Home Office; Gina Gill, chief digital and information officer, Ministry of Justice; Alison Pritchard, deputy national statistician and director general for data capability, ONS; Aydin Sheibani, chief data officer, HMRC; John Quinn, CIO, NHS England; and Sue Bateman, chief data officer, Central Digital and Data Office.

These will now be developed by civil service teams ahead of the semi-final on 23 April 2024 at which a panel of judges will bring advanced digital and data skills to decide the entries to be shortlisted ahead of a grand final on 4 July.

The winner of the Civil Service Data Challenge 2024 will receive funding to help bring the project to life, as well as the endorsement of senior leadership within the Civil Service and technical expertise from NTT DATA.

Alex Burghart, the parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office, said it was “very encouraging to see so many dynamic, innovative and exciting data-led project ideas submitted by professionals working on the ground across the civil service and NHS”.

He added: “Digital and technology solutions like these have the potential to improve public services in the long-term and offer real life, fresh ways of managing data, whether it’s in prisons, at border control or across the NHS and Department for Work and Pensions.”

Vicki Chauhan, head of public sector at NTT DATA UK&I, added: “The success of the Civil Service Data Challenge is a testament to the civil servants themselves who put forward the best and brightest ideas, as well as the team members and mentors who invest the time and energy into developing the ideas.

“The creativity and innovation on show this year has been truly outstanding and it’s been very difficult for all the judges to decide on this longlist. We are very much looking forward to seeing how these proposals are developed in the coming months and wish all our teams the best for the semi-finals!”

To find out more about the Civil Service Data Challenge and the longlisted ideas, go to: https://www.datachallenge.uk/, and read more about the previous challenges below:
Modern slavery detection plan triumphs in UK Data Challenge
An ideas accelerator: how the UK’s Data Challenge built two new public services
A license to think afresh: how the Data Challenge empowered civil service innovators

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About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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