GovTech in Focus: Top tenders & Awards, January - February


Startups, we know that selling to the public sector is tough. In a monthly series, PUBLIC – in partnership with Tussell, the data provider on UK government contracts and spend – provides the GovTech community with the lowdown on the most valuable and exciting GovTech tenders issued by public-sector bodies every month – as well as the opportunities you might have missed.


The most exciting opportunities this month come in the form of local authorities engaging the green energy market:The first - from Oxfordshire County Council - is an engagement around Project LEO, an ambitious smart grid trial funded by Innovate UK. This particular exercise is looking to understand possible opportunities to partner and secure insight and datasets to build long term planning capacity. If you have experience in this area, check out the notice and respond.In a similar vein, January saw the launch of this market engagement exercise from Islington Council - as it seeks to develop a “pioneering energy system...expected to serve more than 3000 residents in the borough”. Though not yet a tangible invitation to tender, we encourage those working on smart energy solutions in heat, cooling, mobility and other forms to respond to the engagement as soon as possible. This is a potentially huge commitment from Islington and will require the expertise and support of providers already working in this space.

HealthTech opportunities:

Following on from the success of the Spark DPS and recently launched health tech frameworks, there’s both a new DPS coming to town as well as a new framework agreement launched.The former finds HealthTrust Europe publishing a PIN around establishing a Dynamic Purchasing System for Diagnostic and Operational AI for the benefit of Trusts, Hospitals, Community Hospitals and other health facilities in the health economy.The latter comes from NHS Shared Business Services and is dedicated to suppliers of AI platforms and medical imagine and radiotherapy equipment.


Top contract by value:

The biggest non-COVID award this month comes from the Ministry of Defence, which went out to find a robotic training target able to take a beating to a very particular set of criteria. The supplier - Australian specialist Gaard Tech received £900k to provide the targets.

5G marches on

The rollout of 5G networks and testbeds continues and seems likely to continue over the coming months. Companies working on solutions that can take advantage of the increased speed and connectivity - particularly those supporting the manufacturing industry - are encouraged to consider the following awards, announced over the last month:

  • Sunderland City Council awarded £880,000 to North PB to build a 5G network capable of running Connected and Automated Logistics aiding the regional manufacturing industry.
  • The University of Sheffield awarded Telent Technology Services £120k to supply a 5G test bed for its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre's (AMRC) North West branch. AMRC NW will use this solution for R&D activity relating to the development of high-speed networking and manufacturing related 5G solutions. It will enable increased data volumes across the shop floor. Additionally, it will help develop a range of smart technologies for the IOT and communication industries based on 5G.

A different kind of traffic management:

We see a lot of awards from local authorities to companies using data to inform traffic management. This contract from London Borough of Sutton to Vivacity Labs through the Spark DPS seeks to understand what insights can be drawn around social distancing. Elsewhere in local government procurement, Telford & Wrekin Council procured The FLEX AI Local Government Citizen Assistant, which uses AI technology and self-service to increase citizen engagement.

A review of AI in medical imaging

A final contract of note from Public Health England to the University of Exeter: PHE has commissioned the university to undertake review, which will “provide a reference point for the validation processes in the development of AI systems for medical imaging in screening programmes.” For AI companies working in this space, it will be worth keeping an eye on the outcomes of this review.


Every month, we’ve been looking at the contract awards relating to COVID-19, whether issued to directly respond to challenges around the virus, or side effects such as the shift to remote work and infrastructure needed to support this. Over the last month, a further 27 contracts with a total value of £12 million have been published, indicating that while the spend on Govtech solutions to problems presented by the crisis has declined slightly, the public sector response is still ongoing. Many of these contracts continue to be basic infrastructure and remote work solutions - including this award from the Department of Health and Social care to Jigsaw Systems, for a cloud solution to support antigen testing sites. Others are more devoted to the response, and this month key awards in this area come from NHS Digital, which has signed four contracts, each for £2m, with Answer Digital, Nomensa, Hippo Digital and Kainos, for “Covid-19 Rapid Response Digital Delivery”.Solutions to support different aspects to the vaccine rollout pop-up frequently, and this month NHS England published the award of £370,000 to Allocate Software for the vaccinations rostering data software.Finally, outside of the dedicated health response - The Department of Education have gone out to find a solution to safeguarding challenges identified as a result of COVID. To this end, DfE has award Ineqe £170,000k for further access to the Safter Schools App - which it says has “significantly increased the Department’s communications with schools, pupils and parents and enables schools to communicate directly with specific groups, link directly to the latest Government guidance, for example on COVID -19 and complement our existing social media accounts.”If you are a tech company that wants unparalleled insights into the key government opportunities and trends, get in touch with us about how we can help – you might be interested in applying to our GovStart programme! Using Tussell’s comprehensive database of UK public sector procurement and spend, you can get trends, analysis and live updates on the government’s procurement of technology. Essential for anyone looking to take a strategic approach to scaling up through public procurement.


Sep 20, 2021