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. 

Much like it has for day-to-day life, Covid-19 has continued to dominate Government procurement. As a result, tender and award announcements have fallen into one of two likely trends:

The first, an ongoing barrage of tenders for solutions to challenges presented by the virus, whether for use as part of the response or to support specific departments’ transitions to new ways of working. In total, we found £72 million worth of tech contracts awarded directly as a result of COVID-19 – we’ve explored the most interesting of these below. 

The second and potentially more concerning trend is a decline in the number of tenders being issued by public sector bodies. Tussell has put together a useful examination of this trend, with more details on this trend on what it means for sellers here – but for now, it’s safe to say there have been distinctly fewer opportunities for companies this month.

How long it will take for this decline to even out will depend on how quickly the public sector can adapt to this new normal, but we’re expecting this to be little more than a short term dip.  

As the public sector gets a handle on its response, the essential goods and services it procures will still be needed. While priorities will undoubtedly change, public procurement will no doubt be one of the economic levers through which the economy is restarted.

Until then, we’ll continue to bring you the top tenders – both Covid-19 related and more general – along with awards and tenders you may have missed. 

TOP LIVE TENDERS

Swindon is going smart with traffic management:

Our top live tender this month is this one from Swindon Borough Council, which is seeking a new Urban Transport Management Database to “facilitate consistently moving traffic and reliable journey times during peak periods, and to ensure that key junctions are not over-capacity and all available highway space can be utilised.”

This is a great opportunity for companies able to make the most out of data and deliver real time urban management. The deadline for bids is 4 June, so there’s still time for companies to put together proposals. 

Last call: Install a robotic arm for Staffordshire University 

We first flagged this Staffordshire university tender in last month’s piece along with a number of other robotics-related tenders that had come out of the public sector in the preceding weeks. 

Most have already expired, but there’s a little under a week left for companies with the necessary hardware and expertise to bid to supply, deliver and commission two robotic arms to be used as robot manufacturing demonstrators in the university’s SmartZone for advanced manufacturing. 

Make your bid by 12 noon, 18th May.

Opportunities you may have missed

Awards:

The top award by value over the last month was this one from the Defense Science & Technology Laboratory to Rohde & Schwarze UK ltd – valued at £382k – for the Lease or purchase of a system which will enable study of and testing with end user devices conforming to 3GPP 5G specifications which are connected to a 5G network. 

Where are they now?:

In last month’s installment, we reported on a number of interesting tenders that GovTech startups working in a range of specific fields should take a look at. Since then:

Tourism NI have awarded their VR contract for shared 360-Degree virtual reality theatre to Igloo Vision ltd. The system is intended to allow a group to experience virtual reality without the need for headsets; with an increase in the use of VR and the number of VR contracts up for grabs, this could be an interesting contract to watch. The award was valued at £276k. 

In the last couple of months, we’ve also seen a number of tenders around robotics and autonomous vehicles, and in this month’s awards, several of the bodies seeking these technologies have found suppliers. 

The Highest value of these is the University of Warwick’s award to Openview Security Solutions for a new independent surveillance system to support Controlled Autonomous Vehicles (£184k);

Other key awards in this space are this one from the University of Sheffield to Kuka Robotics for 2 industrial robots, and this one from University of the West of England to SP Technology for a UR5 and UR10 Robot. Not necessarily in a stage to procure autonomous vehicles but keen to know more about them, Newcastle University has awarded a contract to Animmersion UK to undertake research into the field.

Covid-19:

Top of the list of these awards from the public sector is this one from the Department for Education – which awarded a £60m contract to Computacenter for the provision of laptops and tablets as part of the department’s requirement for disadvantaged children across England to receive devices as part of an initiative to make remote education and social care services accessible for pupils staying at home during the coronavirus outbreak.  

The contact will mean children who are preparing for exams (Year 10), who are care leavers, and who receive support from a social worker will receive the necessary devices to stay connected as they study from home.

Adapting to the new world is expensive

For corporate services teams, Covid-19 prompted a number of tenders for one-off or extraordinary projects by public bodies transferring to remote working. As a result a number of direct awards were issued relating to the purchase of laptops and relevant software. 

Perhaps the most notable of these is NHS Wales Informatics Service’s £1.7m spend on rolling out Microsoft Office 365. Other high value contracts include the Department for Agriculture, the Environment and Rural Affairs award of £451k to Deloitte for laptops, and the University of Lincoln’s £599k purchase of laptops from Daisy Corporate Services

Elsewhere, Isle of Wight County Council, Leicestershire County Council and Avon and Somerset Police each issued awards for the purchase of laptops, while NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group awarded a contract for IT consultants to advise on their transition to remote working.

Track-and-tracing awards for covid-19 app solutions

The other segment of Covid-19 awards issued over the last month has been for solutions to Covid-19 contact-tracing. 

In total, we found 7 awards by the Department of Health in relation to the new app, including:

In total, it appears that the Department has spent around £8m on the app, across a range of suppliers.

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.