Tell us how to make better use of data

The Civil Service Data Challenge is a collaboration between Cabinet Office, GDS, Global Government Forum, NTT DATA and the Office for National Statistics.

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Help us to build a better Civil Service

Through the Civil Service Data Challenge, we are seeking ideas from civil servants on how government can improve its use of data – and volunteers to work with senior leaders and technical specialists on taking forward the best ideas. No matter your grade, role, employer or profession, we want to hear from you!

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Julia Lopez photo

“Since arriving at the Cabinet Office last year, I’ve found civil servants full of ideas on how to realise the Government’s objectives. Now we want to apply that inventiveness and expertise to one of the most fundamental challenges facing the civil service: that of realising the potential of our huge data assets.”

Julia Lopez MP

Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office.

Alex Chisholm photo

“Civil servants across the workforce will have ideas for how we could improve our use of data, strengthening staff tools and benefiting citizens. We want to tap into the expertise and creativity of staff in every role, grade, profession and organisation.”

Alex Chisholm

Chief Operating Officer, Civil Service, and Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office

Vicki Chauhan

“The Civil Service Data Challenge is a fantastic way for central government to rethink the way it uses data, by giving civil servants a chance to present these ideas directly to senior leadership. By prioritising data and putting it at the heart of everything it does, the government is putting itself in a strong position to excel in the years to come.”

Vicki Chauhan

Head of Public Sector, NTT DATA UK

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Our sponsors and judges

The Civil Service Data Challenge is sponsored by four very senior figures, giving the project reach and influence across government; and the six judges include top data specialists from Number 10, the Cabinet Office, GDS and ONS, plus NTT DATA. Participating civil servants will present your ideas to our sponsors and judges, with the best receiving heavyweight support as we explore implementation.


Why enter?

Joining an interdisciplinary, cross-departmental team, you’ll develop your skills in project management, business planning, digital technologies and partnership working, then showcase your work to panels of top leaders. We want to find implementable ideas to aid the work of public servants and improve public services – but this scheme is also designed to boost the skills and career development of participating civil servants.

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Monday 29 March 2021

Launch of programme

Friday 14 May 2021

Applications close and long list process begins

16 June 2021

Data Challenge session at CS Live

21 June 2021

Longlist of applications published

September 2021

Pitch event (the Semi Final)

November 2021

Shortlist confirmed

December 2021

The Final

Before you apply

Whether you have an idea or want to join a team, you’ll need your line manager’s agreement: please show them our Information for line managers page, where our sponsor, Civil Service Chief Operating Officer Alex Chisholm, explains the benefits of participating and asks them to approve requests.

We hope that all those whose ideas are selected for development will join a team to develop their ideas. From that point, we anticipate that all team members may have to spend up to one day per month on the scheme during their participation. We ask line managers to give staff the flexibility to join meetings and commit some of your working hours to the project. 

Submit idea