Resource Data

Public Service Volunteers Prepare to Face the ‘Dragons’ of Data – Global Forum of Governments


By Matt Ross on 05/12/2021 | Updated on 12/05/2021

Participants in the Public Service Data Challenge. Photo Matt Ross

A team of UK Civil Service volunteers will have their data project endorsed by some of the top government leaders this week, securing public support from ministers and department heads as well as $ 50 worth of development aid. £ 000 to help move their program forward towards implementation.

In the final of the Civil Service Data Challenge, four interdepartmental and interdisciplinary teams will present their ideas to the program’s final decision jury at a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event – showcasing the results of five months of research and development work, and answer questions from panelists. The event will be held at County Hall in Westminster on Thursday afternoon and is open to UK officials.

The panel will be chaired by Alex Chisholm, UK Civil Service Director of Operations, alongside Joanna Davinson, Director of the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO); Head of Policy Profession Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary of the Environment Department; Vicki Chauhan, Head of Public Sector at NTT DATA UK; and the non-executive director of the Cabinet Office, Henry de Zoete.

The Data Challenge has been running since March, when its organizers – the Cabinet Office, Office for National Statistics, NTT DATA UK and Global Government Forum – invited officials from across government to come up with ideas on how the public service could make better use of the data. Nearly 200 ideas were sent and teams of volunteers were formed around the eight most promising. Over the summer, the teams began to test and develop their ideas; and in the semi-final in October, four were selected to take part in Thursday’s final event.

Innovate in search of innovation

The program is designed to leverage the expertise and commitment of officials in every department, profession and grade, pulling in good ideas and providing the resources, time and effort to develop and promote them. NTT DATA UK has invested around £ 250,000 to provide support and advice to the teams, who have spent the past six months gathering evidence, engaging with stakeholders and building the partnerships necessary for delivery.

“The Data Challenge reaffirmed how creative and innovative public servants can be when they are provided with the right environment and support,” said Sue Bateman, CDDO Deputy Director of Innovation and early stages judge. of the Challenge. “What struck me most was the variety of ideas from different organizations, and not necessarily people from the data or analytics fields. As part of the National Data Strategy, we often talk about improving data literacy and awareness of opportunities. This program really showed a different, project-based way of doing it. To apply to attend the final, please complete the form on the Data Challenge website – where you can also read the four remaining ideas and follow the progress of the program.