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CivTech team outlines Scottish digital challenges



New approach to public service procurement focuses on solutions for environmental, care, data, tourism and transport problems

Public sector organisations have come up with six challenges as part of the CivTech pilot to promote the development of new digital solutions for services.

It is the next step in the Scottish Government Digital Directorate programme, launched last month, which is testing a new procurement route that focuses on asking open questions rather than providing technical specifications in traditional tenders.

The pilot is focused on encouraging innovation with digital technology, with the prospect of whoever wins the challenges quickly obtaining public sector contracts. The directorate has said it is open to private and public sector organisations and citizen groups.

Each has been sponsored by a public authority, asking how to:

  • Help improve air quality (Scottish Environment Protection Agency).
  • Make flood forecasting information better used by a wider audience (Scottish Environment Protection Agency).
  • Get health and social care data and analysis to the widest possible audience (National Service Scotland).
  • Make data publications more accessible and appealing (National Services Scotland).
  • Promote tourist destinations along the A9 (Transport Scotland).
  • Use technology to design smart roads (Transport Scotland).

Engagement sessions for the individual challenges are scheduled for the next two weeks, following which the pilots are due to run through six stages.

Information to internationalisation

They will begin with the sponsors providing all the relevant information asking for solutions, then applications from anyone with potential solutions. Three teams will then be selected to work with the sponsor for two weeks on the solution, following which one will be chosen to develop the product through a three-month accelerator programme.

This will be followed by pre-commercial development, in which the sponsor will have the opportunity to continue the contract with the participant team. The last stage will involve looking to find further clients nationally and internationally.

The solutions providers will retain all of the intellectual property and any equity they may put into the project.

Alexander Holt, head of digital communities in the Scottish Government, said: “There are two strands to this. One is around delivering better digital services for the public sector; and two, providing economic development opportunities.

“So you have challenge sponsors, public sector organisations, start-ups, scale-ups, interested participants and developers of solutions, so the citizen at the top of our hierarchy is the person who benefits most.”

The process is open for applications until 25 July. The directorate is aiming to make the selections by mid September, then run the accelerator phase until mid December, followed by field testing and implementation up to the end of March of next year.

Image from Scottish Government

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