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. 

This month’s edition is replete with a steady stream of GovTech notices and awards that demonstrate the range of opportunities across the public sector for startups.

While the organisations issuing notices and awards are fairly diverse, it seems many of them are looking for the same thing: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. As we noted in our quarterly deep-dive, the use of AI in the public sector has skyrocketed since 2015, and from the number of related contracts here, that isn’t going to slow down.

TOP LIVE TENDERS:

BBC Digital Transformation: more than just iPlayer.

In the top spot this month: the BBC has issued a tender for a new £12m framework for ‘digital services’. The opportunities to be won from this tender appear to be significant, with applications across the BBC’s remit, including in its education, news, sports tv and iplayer departments.

To be successful, suppliers seeking to be on the framework must successfully apply to at least three of the following service categories: “web development, mobile app development, backend development, third party maintenance, emerging technologies, data science and machine learning, design and UX and host and operate”.

Tender deadline 16th July.

Bradford needs a chatbot

The speed of local government transformation can vary from one authority to the next. This month, Bradford Council seeks to join the ranks of the most innovative councils – as they look to procure a new chatbot for their website.

To help improve customer services, the winner’s bot will help to answer questions from the public and help to lower call volume – reducing the burden on call centre staff and making quick enquiries to the Council easier for the town’s residents.

There’s £30k on offer for the right provider – apply by 15 July.

Shape the green economy: 

Finally, a new prior information notice from Perth and Kinross Council is giving us a glimpse into a future green economy.

The Scottish Council is seeking input from industry and academia in connection with the ‘Perth Smart Energy City programme’: a distributed energy model that enables decarbonisation of energy production and distribution for consumption at city scale.

While it’s not an immediate opportunity, we always encourage startups to make enquiries and strive to contribute to PIN’s when they arise – doing so can pay dividends in the future when procurement exercises begin.

Here, the PIN is an opportunity to contribute to an exciting conversation with the market about how to establish ‘the conditions and capabilities for Perth to realise its aspiration to become a genuinely Smart Energy City’ – with an opportunity to engage with the short, medium and long-term priorities associated with the programme over the next ten years.

OPPORTUNITIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

Awards:

The rollout of smart meters by Anglian Water takes the title of June’s largest award. Arqiva received £230m for the contract, Suez a notional £1. The new smart water meters will help create more efficient and energy-friendly water services.

Elsewhere, Public Health England awarded a new contract to PA Consulting with the aim of linking up their health surveillance ‘big data’ systems through an automated process. PA Consulting received an award for £1m.

Elsewhere, other awards offer an indication of different organisations’ priorities over the past year:

Public Health England have commissioned a document for a review of AI processes in breast cancer screening. AI and Healthtech startups should keep a close eye on where this ends up, as the value of AI as a screening and diagnostic tool is clear, and opportunities are likely to open up in this space.

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy paid £119k earlier this year for a subscription to the last insights on the latest heat and smart technology innovations and market developments.

It is expected that the evidence it generates is a significant contributor toward ensuring policy decisions are based on up-to-date and accurate market information, but also gives a strong clue as to where the department may be looking to procure new technologies over the next 12 months.

COVID-TECH:

As lockdown eases, some may find it easy to forget that the virus hasn’t gone away. Not so in GovTech, where COVID-19 continues to spur on significant developments and investment in new technologies, both to fight the virus, and to help us adapt to the new normal.

Last month, the tally for contract awards on tech solely as a result of the crisis was approaching £100m, and that hasn’t slowed down much. Across the public-sector, diverse types of organisation are investing in new solutions to:

Recruit staff in health and social care:

Suffolk County Council awarded a £793k contract for Implementation and provision of an emergency digital assistive technology solution to Alcove Ltd.

Department of Health and Social Care awarded two contracts relating to the ‘Joinsocialcare.co.uk’ initiative, each work £754k

  • The first – awarded to GovStart Alumni CeraCare – was for the licensing of their online carer recruitment platform.
  • The second – to Mears Care Ltd. – was for the re-purposing of an existing web-based recruitment platform.

Together the two contracts addressed the urgent and immediate need to attract, vet and offer training to potential candidates (during Covid-19).

Healthcare consultations:

Attend Anywhere has won two NHS contracts for their video chat software, one from NHS Improvement for virtual waiting rooms worth nearly £5m and a second from NHS Scotland, for face-to-face consultations worth £1.2m.

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

With the original Test-and-Trace app now defunct, at a total spend of £8m, and with Apple and Google now involved in the next iteration, Government has now published what we expect to be the final contracts in relation to version 1.

All but one of the most recent awards went to suppliers we were already aware of as suppliers for the app. The remaining award – for a Managed Load Test Contract – went to Eggplant ltd.

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.