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. 

December was marked by an impressive array of invitations to tender, awards and market engagement  – with a particular emphasis on those coming out of local councils seeking technologies with a range of possible applications. Take a look at the best below.

 

Top live tenders:

Firstly, the tangible opportunities:  West Sussex County Council is undertaking the current Procurement exercise to appoint a suitable delivery partner/ contractor who will fund, install, operate and maintain SMART Energy Technologies (solar PV, battery energy storage systems, fleet EV charging) which support the research aims of the SmartHubs Demonstrator project. The SmartHubs consortium is building what it says will be the future of low-carbon energy in West Sussex. 

For consultants with expertise in IOT and LoRaWAN tech, here’s an interesting opportunity at Carmarthenshire County Council. The Council is exploring how to use this tech to address issues at a number of market towns across the country and is seeking a consultant to advise on its use. This kind of tech has been deployed in a number of cities, including Liverpool, so this would be a perfect knowledge sharing opportunity for the right team. Apply by 11 January.

 

Market engagements:

Now for a few notices relating to market engagement – regular readers will know we strongly encourage early engagement from suppliers on these issues as strong means of getting to know the problem that public sector buyers have, and working out how you might be able to solve their problem. With that in mind, keep an eye on the following local government initiatives:

 

Autonomous vehicles testing in Wales:

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has published a £184m PIN for the development of a test site for autonomous vehicles. There are six different lots to be applied for which cover a range of different things in order to develop the site including R&D and 5G infrastructure, so a number of potential future opportunities in these areas for the right companies. 

 

Want to shape the future of public transport?

A major piece of early market engagement working coming out of the West of England Combined Authority sees work done to understand the future of public transport in different cities and communities across the region. This appears to be the first stage in a programme to radically rethink the way public transport is delivered in the West of England, and so the opportunities for startups that could support planning, data analysis, operations and delivery are potentially great. Check out more details on the notice here and respond by 31 Jan.

A similar notice from Aberdeenshire Council announces a market assessment to gain an understanding of the potential level of interest for the provision and support of a management system for demand responsive passenger transport. Responses will guide a future procurement approach.

 

Cobots for care workers?

‘Cobots’ is a new one on us, but hopefully not on you. These robotic exoskeletons could play a key role in supporting care workers in their work in the future, and Hampshire County Council is keen to hear from potential suppliers and other experts on the technology. The deadline is today (Friday 8 Jan), so get your views in as soon as possible if you have them.

 

Opportunities you may have missed

Chatbots galore:

Really, by this point if you’re a developer of chatbots and you’re not keeping up with the latest ITTs coming out of councils, you’re missing a trick. This month, both Hull City Council and Herefordshire Council award contracts for Chatbots to reduce burdens on call centres while at the same time helping users find the information they were looking for. 

Inform Communications received £195k from Hull for their admittedly sophisticated sounding platform, while WE Build Bots Ltd received £185k from Herefordshire for a similar platform. 

 

Departments are seeing the value of big data:

Two big awards coming out of central government last month illustrate the premium that Government is placing on big data these days. 

The first two of these come from The Home Office, who awarded two contracts for “Big Data Delivery Services” to Cognizant (for £4.9m) and PA Consulting (for £925k).

Next up, the Department of Health paid O2 £628K for “data & insights” on “on movement, demography, mobility-patterns and behaviour of millions of people, (30% of UK-population)” the contract will run for a year.

 

COVID-Tech:

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 33 contracts worth upwards of £30 million have been published by public bodies seeking technologies to help resolve challenges associated with COVID-19. Many of these continue to be strengthening the ability of organisations working to function as-normal and remotely.

Also in the list are a number of awards relating to the NHS COVID-19 app, which has undergone phase 2 development. The largest of these is the £9m contract to Zulkhe Engineering (who also worked on the phase 1 development). This includes the addition of further integration with the self-isolation payments gateway.

The next largest COVID award came out of NHS Digital, who awarded X-Lab Ltd. £8m for support in facilitating messaging between pathology labs, allowing test results and requests to be processed digitally.

Another award that clearly highlights how the need for COVID-tech has expanded beyond the health space is this one from the Ministry of Justice. Last month, the Ministry published a £4.2m contract with TechForce19 company Buddi relating to tagging services for early release of COVID-vulnerable  inmates to support their policy work in this area. 

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.