Four projects shortlisted for implementation in 2024 Civil Service Data Challenge

By on 29/04/2024 | Updated on 30/04/2024
A picture of the Civil Service Data Challenge prize trophies

Four projects looking at ways to improve how the UK government uses data – including deploying artificial intelligence – have been named in the shortlist for the 2024 Civil Service Data Challenge.

The competition sees civil servants produce the best ideas for data innovation 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 challenge winner, Project Heyrick, is focused on making better use of government information to identify and tackle modern slavery, while the winning project from 2022 works to protect the UK’s peatlands using innovative Generative Adversarial Networks.

A longlist of eight projects was compiled from the 98 submitted ideas in January, and a shortlist has now been published following a semi-final held in London.

The shortlisted ideas are:

  • Policy Summarisation with Gen AI. Submitted by the Home Office, this project proposes the use of 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.
  • NHS Geospatial Planning Tool. Submitted by the Department of Health and Social Care, this idea plans to use 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.
  • Streamlining the NHS-DWP Death Data Exchange. Submitted by the Department for Work and Pensions, this would automate how data is shared between the NHS and DWP to reduce duplication of civil servant workloads and reliance on legacy systems.
  • Optimising Prison Space Management. Submitted by the Ministry of Justice, this idea would use 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.

The shortlisted ideas will now be further developed ahead of the grand final on 4 July, where teams will pitch their ideas to a final decision panel before an overall winner is chosen.

Read more: UK experts talk driving a data-sharing culture in the public sector

The shortlisted 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 strategy Officer, Central Digital and Data Office (Cabinet Office); Fiona James, chief data officer, ONS; Aydin Sheibani, chief data officer, HMRC; John Quinn, CIO, NHS England; and Sue Bateman, chief data officer, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Vicki Chauhan, head of public sector, NTT DATA UK, said: “This year’s shortlist provides four strong ideas, all worthy of further intensive development and implementation. Impressive pitches from the longlist hugely challenged judges to pick just four, and we thank all of the teams for their hard work and innovation.

“The success of the Civil Service Data Challenge comes from civil servants putting forward the best and brightest ideas, and from those who volunteer as team members and mentors to help develop them. The judges can’t wait to hear how the shortlisted ideas have been developed when we reach the final.”

The longlisted ideas were assessed based on six criteria to make the shortlist. These were the extent to which they are:

  • Likely to improve the lives of public service users or the tools used by civil servants.
  • Likely to generate a high return on investment, with the benefits for citizens, civil servants and taxpayers substantially greater than the costs.
  • Deliverable, with likely obstacles assessed and addressed.
  • Innovative and exemplary in their use of data and technology.
  • Replicable and scalable, with potential applications across government
  • In line with the goals of civil service reform, departmental priorities and the Data Ethics Framework.

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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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