Third iteration of Scottish public procurement programme announced

The Scottish government's CivTech programme, designed to help public sector clients to solve problems using…...

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The Scottish government’s CivTech programme, designed to help public sector clients to solve problems using innovative technology via a range of possible solutions, will shortly be launching its third wave of challenges and inviting proposals.

Speaking at the Public Sector ICT Summit in London this week, CivTech challenge sponsor manager Barbara Mills said that the challenges for CivTech 3.0 will be set shortly. The scheme will also be launching an “intrapreneurship programme” to extend CivTech’s entrepreneurial and technology-focused approach to procurement and strategic sourcing across Scotland’s public sector organisations.

CivTech’s radical approach to public procurement involves inviting public sector organisations to submit challenges in the form of problems they need solving. Companies and even individuals can then respond with a proposal for how to address the issue using services and/or technology.

Three proposals are initially selected and awarded a £3000 research and development contract to explore the ideas involved. Workable proposals may then go through to an “accelerator” stage, with a further £17,000 invested over four monthly tranches. A demo is developed including a prototype product made using 3-D printing.

The demo day for CivTech 3.0 has already been set for 16th January 2019. The organisations that set the challenges will then decide, based on the demos presented, whether or not to go ahead with the solutions.

Mills said that by starting with a problem rather than tendering for a solution, CivTech took a crucially different approach to other public procurement schemes. “When you have a situation where you have specs that take a year to write, then six months to procure, another year to roll out, how can you procure what you do not know exists?” she said.

Although this year’s challenges have not yet been announced, proposals for solutions will be accepted during May. Previous versions of CivTech have seen over £1m awarded in contracts to successful applicants.

Nick Ford

Nick has over 30 years procurement experience in consulting, outsourcing and line roles within industry with international experience across many sectors and industries and led many procurement programs with blue chip organisations.

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