Scottish Government launches pilot for public-private sector digital collaboration

Written by Jenni Davidson on 6 July 2016 in News

The Scottish Government is piloting a project for private sector companies to come up with digital solutions to public sector problems

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Private sector tech developers are being asked to offer solutions to public sector challenges through a new scheme launched by the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate.

The directorate has opened 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.

Unlike conventional tenders where the solution is pre-determined, the CivTech model poses ‘challenges’ as open questions and invites companies to propose an answer.

The aim is to attract smaller companies and 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.


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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’ sponsored by three public sector organisations, SEPA, NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and Transport Scotland, with online engagement sessions for those who want to find out more to start later this week.

The six initial challenges are ‘How can we help improve air quality in urban areas?’, ‘How can we make our flood forecasting information better used by a wider audience?’, ‘How can we get health and social care data and analysis to the widest possible audience?’, ‘How can we make our data publications more accessible and appealing?’, ‘How can we promote the tourist destinations along the A9?’ and ‘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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