Pilot scheme looks for private sector solutions to public sector problems

A new scheme launched by the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate is encouraging private sector tech developers to offer solutions to public sector challenges.

A pilot of CivTech, a scheme where entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and other businesses or individuals have the opportunity to develop digital solutions for the public sector has been opened. Rather than inviting tenders for pre-determined solutions, the new initiative invites companies to respond to open questions and challenges.

CivTech is being tested to see if smaller companies can be attracted and to provide a pathway for them to win public sector contracts in line with the new rules on public procurement that came into force in April.


Multi-stage approach

The CivTech pilot has a number of stages: the identification of a challenge by a public sector sponsor, applications from companies, then an exploration stage where three teams are selected to work with the sponsor for two weeks to further develop their solution.

At the accelerator stage one of the three groups will be selected to develop their product with the challenge sponsor and citizen participation over a three month period.

The product will then go into pre-commercial development with the sponsor encouraged to continue the contract, after which the product is commercialised and opened up to national and international audiences.

Funding is available at each stage: £2,000 for exploration, £15,000 for the accelerator stage and further financial support for the commercialisation stage. Companies get to keep their own IP and equity.

In the initial pilot there are six challenges, put forward by a number of public sector organisations:

  1. How can we help improve air quality in urban areas?
  2. How can we make our flood forecasting information better used by a wider audience?
  3. How can we get health and social care data and analysis to the widest possible audience?
  4. How can we make our data publications more accessible and appealing?
  5. How can we promote the tourist destinations along the A9?
  6. How can we use technology to design smart roads?

The deadline submissions to the pilot project is Monday 1 August. Further information on the challenges and the application progress can be found on the CivTech website.

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