The ICO exists to empower you through information.

We are initially seeking Expressions of interest from organisations who are interested in working with our team in the Sandbox.

The team will review all EOIs, and those organisations proposing innovative projects which align with our current areas of focus will be invited to attend an engagement call to discuss the proposal in more detail.

The engagement phone call will seek additional information about the outlined proposal, including the public benefits associated with the innovation, and the specific areas or challenges the organisation would like ICO support on. We will also provide you with further information about how the Sandbox works, what you can expect from us and what we expect from you.

Following this call, a member of the team may invite you to submit a full application. Please note, a copy of the application form will only be made available to organisations following a successful engagement call.

We will assess final applications to the Sandbox in a fair and transparent way, evaluating each submission against the following criteria:

  • Does the proposal align with our key areas of focus?
  • How innovative is the product or service?

Innovation can be defined as

“[…] the application of new knowledge to the production of goods and services; it means improved product quality and enhanced process effectiveness.”

Although we recognise that a proposed product or service may be achieving an existing goal, we will consider applications where new knowledge is being applied to improve the effectiveness, or the scaling, of an existing product or a service.

  • Will the product or service provide a potential demonstrable benefit to the public?

We will assess this in terms of both breadth (the amount of people benefiting) and/or depth (the extent to which they benefit), drawn from both qualitative and quantitative evidence provided by the organisation.

Please see our Sandbox assessment criteria for additional information about how final applications will be scored. Only applications that score a ‘1’ in either of the above criteria will be automatically declined.

We will also consider:

  • Can the ICO meet the resource and capabilities required?

We will not commit ourselves to collaborating in the development of a product or service which creates resource needs that we cannot feasibly meet.

  • How viable is the organisation’s proposed Sandbox plan?

We will ask you to specify what mechanisms (assistance) or support you expect to need in the Sandbox and detail around time frames, including when you expect to require this support. It could be that you are ready to commence working in the Sandbox within weeks or will not be ready to start for a few months.

Where your organisation is not ready to participate for a number of weeks or months due to interdependencies internally or externally, we may agree a planned entry date with you.

Our current resourcing capacity will also be a consideration and a start date may have to coincide with the exit of an existing participant. It is important that you are ready to participate on this agreed date. This is one area in particular we will explore with you in our engagement call.

Please note, we welcome shorter engagements (for example, eight weeks) as much as longer engagements. The maximum length of time allowed in the Sandbox is 12 months. We expect the length of engagement to vary depending on the particular challenges your organisation requires ICO support on, as well as the internal timeframes you are working to.

A condition of entry into the Sandbox is for each participant organisation to have an exit plan in place, in order to protect data subjects, should it be needed.