The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has unveiled a new public sector procurement framework for emerging technologies.
Named Spark: The Technology Innovation Marketplace, it covers products and services outside the range of other frameworks, taking in the internet of things (IoT), AI, automation, simulated environments, wearables and security technology.
CCS said it will enable public authorities to use the technologies in service innovation, and expects the spend through the framework over the first year to total £20 million with 70% to go to SMEs.
The framework is operating as a dynamic purchasing system (DPS) which new suppliers can join at any time. Seven companies are signed up so far and CCS is encouraging others to apply to join.
Support for SMEs
Niall Quinn, director of CCS’s technology pillar, said: “Spark is the result of a wide ranging review into how the public sector adopts new technologies. It has been developed to support SMEs through government buying power while stimulating growth in the UK technology sector.
“Because it is a DPS it will be continually open to new suppliers and will have functions built into the system that will help customers and suppliers to match capabilities to their needs.”
It was launched alongside the Government’s publication of its new Technology Innovation Strategy, which cites it as one of the measures aimed to encourage a more innovative culture within the public sector.