Earlier this week the Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden announced the third round of challenges in the GovTech Catalyst – the £20m fund set up to help private sector innovators tackle public sector problems.
The GovTech Catalyst fund was a welcome move, helping SMEs and new entrants gain a foot in the door to the public sector. It was encouraging to see that 4 of the 5 GovTech Catalyst challenges in this round come from local authorities and the majority of the 17 challenges submitted to round 3 were from councils.
The successful challenges were:
- Managing autonomous vehicles in local traffic management control systems - Oxfordshire County Council
- Monitoring the condition of social housing using sensors – Leeds City Council
- Understanding and using Scottish land protected for nature and conservation - Scottish Natural Heritage
- Predicting and sequencing adult social care to deliver a seamless service - Torfaen County Borough Council
- Accelerating the building of new housing using better geospatial intelligence - London Borough of Waltham Forest
The digital opportunity goes far beyond websites and transactions. The real reward is how councils can do things differently and better for their citizens, and so it is great to see local authorities utilize the GovTech Catalyst challenge. Furthermore, by engaging with the technology market early, councils will be able to access the latest innovations and workshop through with partners what the art of the possible is. techUK has long for championed outcome led procurement, focusing on the problem. For example, we recently held an innovation workshop with LGiU that bought together industry and local authority Councillors, Directors and Heads of Children Services to interrogate the challenges facing children services in more detail and come up with innovative solutions. It was a good way for both buyers and suppliers to better understand the problem as well as what innovations/technologies are out there.
If you are a local authority and would like to get in touch to run a similar session get in touch!