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Civil Service Data Challenge 2022 launched to continue to improve innovation within public services and government

The second year of the Dragons’ Den-style competition encourages Civil Servants to share their ideas on how to improve the use of data within government

NTT DATA UK announced the launch of the Civil Service Data Challenge 2022 – the second year of the programme – which invites Civil Servants to share their ideas on how government can improve its use of data. The challenge, which sees civil servants pitch their ideas to a panel of senior leaders in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition, is a collaboration between NTT DATA UK, Cabinet Office, Global Government Forum, and the Office for National Statistics.

As part of the Data Challenge, teams of Civil Service volunteers will develop the most promising of these ideas, pitching them to the judges at semi-final and final events – after which the best will receive both technical advice and development support from partner NTT DATA UK, and the backing of top Civil Servants.

The winning entry from 2021 saw a team of civil servants propose the deployment of an AI solution to protect the UK’s peatlands. The idea edged ahead of its rivals in a closely contested final thanks to its potential to help lock more carbon into the ground, reduce flooding risk, and assist the government with achieving its carbon emissions targets. Moreover, the project has potential to be scaled for application worldwide, which helped to win over the judges. However, due to the impressive nature of all the finalists’ proposals, NTT DATA has continued to work with all finalists to help ensure their ideas are brought to life.

The sponsors for this year’s Data Challenge include Alex Chisholm, Chief Operating Officer at the Civil Service; Julia Lopez, Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure; Peter Schofield, Head of the Operational Delivery Profession & Permanent Secretary, DWP; and Tamara Finkelstein, Head of the Policy Profession & Permanent Secretary, Defra.

Alex Chisholm commented: “The Civil Service Data Challenge is an important element of our work to build a more responsive, innovative and effective Civil Service, which is why we have decided to host the challenge again this year.

“We are encouraging civil servants from every grade, role department and profession to get involved with the Data Challenge as it is a fantastic opportunity to help steer policy and improve processes within on Central Government. We received almost 200 fantastic ideas from across the Civil Service last year, and the quality of proposals put forward to us was truly impressive. We are now looking forward to the difficult task of working out the best ideas to take forward this year.”

Civil Servants have until 21 July 2022 to put forward their ideas or volunteer to join a team. An expert panel of judges will then review and select the eight most promising ideas to proceed to the next stage, which will examine their viability, as well as explore any challenges and benefits to the proposals. These will be whittled down during a live semi-final event, to four final ideas, before a grand finale where the judging panels will pick the best idea for further development – providing both the support of the programme’s judges, partners and sponsors, and expert advice and technical prowess from NTT DATA UK.

Julia Lopez MP commented: “Last year’s competition served as a true indication of what is possible within the Civil Service if we use data effectively. While some fantastic progress has been made in identifying data sets that can help to improve the Civil Service, there is plenty of data to be unearthed and explored, and the government is keen to ensure that this data is at the heart of policymaking moving forward.”

Vicki Chauhan, Head of Public Sector at NTT DATA UK, commented: “Following the success of last year’s Challenge, we are delighted to be launching the Civil Service Data Challenge 2022. The competition is a fantastic platform for civil servants to pitch their data ideas to a panel of senior leaders from across the civil service and industry. The use of data needs to be central to all of the government’s policy and decision making in order to produce better outcomes for citizens, and we cannot wait to see the new and innovative ideas that will be put forward in this year’s Challenge.”

Civil Servants have until 21st July 2022 to put forward their ideas or volunteer to join a team via the dedicated website:

About the partners


NTT DATA UK is a leading IT services provider and trusted global innovator, headquartered in Tokyo, with business operations in over 50 countries. Our emphasis is on long-term commitment combining global reach with local intimacy to provide premier professional services varying from consulting and systems development to outsourcing. For more information, visit


Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office supports the Prime Minister and ensure the effective running of government. It is also the corporate headquarters for government, in partnership with HM Treasury, and it takes the lead in certain critical policy areas. For more information, visit


Global Government Forum

Global Government Forum is a publishing, events and research business that helps senior civil servants around the world to meet global challenges by building their expertise, knowledge and connections. For more information,


Office for National Statistics (ONS)

ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and its recognised national statistical institute. It is responsible for collecting and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels. It also conducts the census in England and Wales every 10 years. To find out more, visit


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