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.
With COVID-19 filling the airwaves and new solutions to its many challenges direly sought after within the public-sector, it’s perhaps easy to forget that many of the issues that troubled government beforehand continue to do so. Across the country, from borough council to combined authority, government department to NHS trust, there are still hundreds of buyers seeking digital solutions to aid in realising more efficient systems for those they serve.
This last month brought with it a fascinating array of tenders from across the public-sector, including tenders and awards focused on some of the most high-tech, futuristic technologies we’ve seen. Check them out below!
TOP LIVE TENDERS
The AI tenders keep coming:
Our quarterly in-depth piece last week took a close look at who’s using AI in the public sector and what they’re using it for. There we noted that the number of contracts was both increasing and diversifying in both origin and purpose.
This month’s notices only serve to hammer this point home – as the world-famous Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Trust goes looking for an AI provider to support its research:
The trust is looking for engineering support for ‘research database build, training and capacity building to explore ophthalmic images using artificial intelligence systems as a means of deploying valuable clinical insights to better understand and stratify ophthalmic or related diseases’.
This looks like a hugely important notice for AI startups. We noted the value of pivoting to respond to different requirements and we’re sure that there are companies out there that will be well placed to do so here.
The tender – valued at up to £800k – is based on two similar allocations (lots), which means there are two separate agreements up for grabs, with both quality and price specified as key criteria.
The deadline is this week, so while it’s tight, there’s still time to get a bid in.
On tender elsewhere, Nottingham University is looking to procure a £75k Computer Vision discovery programme using process automation. They are looking for an Agile supplier to develop a web-based solution that harnesses Microsoft’s custom vision cognitive service or a comparable, machine-learning API.
Healthcare buyers seem to have gone mad for robots this month, with key tenders coming out of the NHS around procurement, installation or maintenance of robots.
It’s a big one: NHS Supply Chain expects to spend £45 million on products to meet its current requirements in the first two years of the agreement alone, and this could well grow – the contract has an upper-end potential value of £100 million.
but robotics startups take note, there’s a lot of interest in this area right now, so take the time to engage with possible buyers while the interest is there.
What’s happening elsewhere?
The Test Bed will be used to deliver Advanced Teaching and training on Smart grid & Grid Integration of Renewable Energy Systems (AT-SGIRES) project.
We suspect this last one may be a bit niche for many in our network, but if you have the suitable hardware and expertise, this contract is open to SMEs – and looks to be a vital piece of work to support renewable energy implementation.
OPPORTUNITIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
the robot theme continues in those contracts that have already been awarded, too – with a number of awards to manufacturers of robotics technologies:
- The University of Birmingham has awarded a contract to Raruk Automation limited for the supply of a Universal UR5 robot – there’s no further details on this one, and we know that the UR5 is quite versatile in its potential applications, so your guess is as good as ours in terms of what challenges UoB is seeking to solve.
- University of Sheffield awarded a contract to supply a medium sized collaboration robot to Fanuc ltd – a Japanese robotics and automation specialist; and
- Elsewhere in the NHS, Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust have already got their hardware, but have now found a company to maintain its new Da Vinci SI surgical robot.
Unmanned vehicles are a key focus of contracts coming out of both local and central government this month too:
- As part of a programme of engagement with its supply chain, Highways England is looking for a consultant to undertake a hazard identification study for operating drones on and adjacent to the strategic road network. The results will inform an interim drone governance policy for their supply chain.
- Enfield Council have awarded Drone Training Ltd a contract to purchase a drone for them and teach them how to use it.
- More speculatively, DEFRA and the Marine Management Organisation are trying to understand the practicalities of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technologies for the purposes of fisheries control and enforcement – essentially they want to know what’s going to in other sectors where UAV surveillance is more established, and what they might need to know in order to use UAV’s in monitoring UK fishing waters for foreign vessels, illegal fishing and other offences.
Startups working on robotics or unmanned vehicles, take note, there’s a lot of interest in these areas right now, so take the time to engage with possible buyers now, while the interest is there.
Finally, we’ve also seen a number of awards for technologies to smarten cities, including through intelligent transport solutions, where Warwickshire and Nottingham City Council have awarded a £12.49 million contract to Siemens.
Elsewhere in this space, Durham County Council have awarded Pinacl Solutions UK a framework agreement for provision of free public internet and analytics throughout Bishop Auckland and Stanley Town Centre – the tender specification sought a sole supplier that could build a wireless infrastructure combining the latest technology with innovative software solutions. The contract is due to start in September, so we’ll check in a further down the line to see how this pans out.
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.