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Finalists for Civil Service Data Challenge 2024 revealed

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Photo of semi finalists presenting at the Civil Service Data Challenge

The four finalists for 2024’s Civil Service Data Challenge, the data competition designed to find a data-led solution to a technical or societal issue, have been revealed, after competitive semi-final pitches, which recently took place at One Birdcage Walk.

Eight semi finalists, made up of a diverse range of civil servants, in different departments and at all grades, competed to go through to the final, which will take place on 4 July, in Westminster. The winner of the Civil Service Data Challenge 2024 will receive £50,000-worth of support from NTT DATA to further develop their idea, as well as the endorsement by senior leadership within the Civil Service. 

The competition attracted over a hundred entries, and was launched by Minister Alex Burghart, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office in October 2023.  

The judges selected four finalists, from eight competitors, to go through to the final. They include:

  • POSUM: Policy summarisation with Gen AI, submitted by a colleague from the Home Office. This project will introduce generative AI to revolutionise how governmental agencies harness data, by strengthening staff tools, minimising administration time, as well as saving taxpayers’ money and improving outcomes for citizens.
  • RoutePlanner: NHS geospatial planning tool, submitted by Paul Caroll, Principal Data Scientist, from the Department of Health and Social Care. This tool will use open-source software and publicly accessible datasets to support NHS workers, in planning visits to patients’ homes, reducing emissions from travel, and ensuring wider coverage across GP practices.
  • GENIE: Streamlining the NHS-DWP death data exchange, entered by Corey Lankovits, Lead Service Designer, from the Department for Work & Pensions, in conjunction with the NHS. This project will automate how data surrounding deceased individuals is shared between the NHS and DWP. It will reduce overpaying any benefits, stop civil servants from contacting partners to recover any extra payments, and streamline systems. 
  • Optimising prison space management, submitted by John Saunders, Product Manager, from the Ministry of Justice. The scheme sets out to use algorithms and data analytics to create a prison system that predicts, in real-time, when and where prison spaces will become available.

The finalists were chosen by the 2024 judging panel, which includes Vicki Chauhan, Head of Public Sector, NTT DATA UK (Chair of Judges); Simon Bourne, Chief Digital, Data and Technology Officer (CDDaTO), Home Office; Gina Gill, Chief Strategy Officer, at CDDO; Sue Bateman, Chief Data Officer, DEFRA; Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability, ONS; Aydin Sheibani, Chief Data Officer, HMRC; and John Quinn, CIO, NHS England.

Craig Suckling, Chief Data Officer, CDDO, and a champion of the competition, said:

“Congratulations to our four worthy finalists. It’s inspiring to see so much innovation, diversity of thought, and drive to improve society reflected in all the entries. Finalists are embracing the important themes that we want to see scaled across government - cross departmental data sharing, use of open data, real time intelligence, and generative AI. 

“The final projects showcase the massive potential data and AI holds to streamline civil service administration, improve productivity, and create amazing services for our citizens.”

Vicki Chauhan, Head of Public Sector at NTT DATA UK&I, added:

“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.”

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