Empower the centre and strengthen departmental leadership to realise the potential of data, say civil servants

A major new survey has found that civil servants see better use of data as the key to improving public services and staff tools – and they back action by the centre of government to promote progress across the civil service.

Watch the report highlights video

At the end of last year, NTT DATA partnered with Global Government Forum to gather civil servants’ views on the use of data in government. We wanted to find out where they think there’s the most potential to make better use of data; how well civil service bodies currently manage their data, and what actions – by departments and the centre – would best promote progress.

Our survey attracted responses from 346 civil servants – nearly half of them leaders and managers – and produced interesting results, finding strong demand across the workforce for stronger action by the centre of government. You can download the full report, or read our highlights and explore our data tool, below.

Report highlights

Hear from Bill Wilson, Head of Data & Intelligence Solutions at NTT DATA UK, about some of the findings detailed in the report.

Duration: 8 mins 23 secs

Watch now

Five key takeaways

Here’s a selection of our findings, chosen to give you a taste of the range and breadth of insights in the full report.


of Senior Civil Servants say better use of data is "absolutely essential"

Improving the use of data to strengthen evidence-based policymaking is seen as a

a top priority


of respondents were unable to say whether their employer has a data strategy

There has been a call for

strong, visible leadership

3 to 1 in favour

of the centre of government winning new powers to promote better use of data

Explore the key research findings

Explore the research findings by selecting the questions from the dropdown menu below. You can then filter the results by grade, department or profession. For full findings and commentary, please download the research report.

How important is better use of data to improving the tools used by civil servants and the public services received by citizens?

Within each group, over 90% of respondents replied that it was either ‘very important’ or ‘absolutely essential’ – with far more opting for the latter.

Whole group
Absolutely essential
Very important

Civil servants overwhelmingly recognise the need to make better use of data, regardless of grade, department or profession. Overall, 63% said that doing so is 'absolutely essential', and a further 30% that it's 'very important'.

Download the research

Download the research report for NTT DATA's full commentary on the findings. We have also made the full anonymised dataset available to you.

Download the report

(5.7mb, PDF)

Download the data

(18kb, ZIP)

Want to know more?

To find out more about the Civil Service Data Survey and what the results mean for your organisation, book a meeting with a member of the NTT DATA UK Public Sector team.

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Vicki Chauhan

Head of Public Sector, NTT DATA

Vicki has worked with the public sector for over 20 years, in fields including consulting, systems integration and managed services. Following a career with BAE Systems, Detica and BT Syntegra, since 2019 she has managed NTT DATA’s operations across the public and not-for-profit sectors. Vicki is passionate about helping public bodies to improve their programmes, services and staff tools, making a tangible difference to the lives of citizens and staff.

Phill Akers

Vice President of Public Services, NTT DATA

Phill has built trusted partnerships across the public and private sectors for almost 20 years, helping his clients achieve their transformational objectives. His central government experience includes work with HMRC, DWP, DEFRA and the FCDO. Phill believes in cross-sector fertilisation of ideas, data and technology advancements to help drive innovation and deliver greater outcomes for his clients.

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