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CCS launches Automation Marketplace


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has launched a public sector procurement framework for intelligent automation services.

Named the Automation Marketplace, it covers solutions for areas including business process optimisation, desktop automation and analytics.

It has been created with the Cabinet Office to replace the current robotic process automation contract, which is due to expire in August.

The framework initially includes 20 suppliers but has been set up as a dynamic purchasing agreement that leaves scope for others to join. It also includes a stipulation that suppliers offering solutions that involve the use of artificial intelligence must declare they will adhere to a set of ethical guidelines on the use of AI in the public sector.

Niall Quinn, CCS technology director said: “Automation is becoming increasingly important to government and by asking suppliers to abide by the AI ethical principles it will assist public bodies and those delivering public facing services to easily identify AI products and services that meet their ethical requirements.”

CCS has set a top value for the contract of £100 million. As the total business approaches this level it will look at running a fresh procurement.

The framework has a single lot, but CCS indicated at the time it raised the procurement notice that it would comprise four service filters for the framework: design, involving strategy and business information; build, taking in problem solving and technology solutions; live, with resources and training; and software licences.

CCS indicated that a further DPS for AI will be launched later this year and that it will take into account the recently published report on AI and public standards by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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