GovTech Catalyst launched a £20 million challenge fund to help the public sector identify and work with cutting-edge technology firms to deliver innovative solutions to complex problems.
Towards the end of 2018, the GovTech team at the Government Digital Service launched a challenge (defined by Durham County Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council) to utilise “intelligent data to transform local council service delivery” with the ultimate aim of using data to improve delivery across their services.
This was a highly competitive process with over 60 companies pitching their ideas. Of the 60 applications, only five companies were accepted for Phase 1 – of which Analytics Engines is one.
The challenge is focused on two areas to help transform council services:
- Boots on the ground, Durham County Council | Enabling residents to collect and report accurate data about public assets, such as potholes and street lighting, to the local council.
- Eyes on the street, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council | Using local council vehicles to collect and report data as they travel around the borough.
To address the challenge of using data intelligently to transform service delivery, Analytics Engines is focusing on capturing, analysing and utilising data to more efficiently and effectively inform decisions and improve service delivery.
The Analytics Engines’ solution – dubbed ‘DATO’ – will provide an innovative, cost-effective way to transform service delivery through the use of real-time data and machine learning.
This will allow both councils to make data-driven, proactive decisions on resource allocation and also empower the public by giving them access to data.
Analytics Engines and Connected Places Catapult are working in partnership to deliver DATO which is a low-cost innovative suite of solutions to address the challenges outlined. Connected Places Catapult will bring their expertise in market research and User Experience design plus their extensive network with local authorities. Analytics Engines will bring their deep expertise in systems integration, advanced analytics and rapid application development.
‘Investing in innovation’
Tom Leaver, Project Manager at Connected Places Catapult said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Analytics Engines to understand the challenges faced by the two councils. Our aim is to help them deliver a solution that builds demand-side confidence by adding to the cohort of intelligent customers able to engage the market with confidence and capable of investing in innovation.”
This GovTech fund is intended to support delivery of the government’s Industrial Strategy and its focus is to stimulate innovation, give small companies access to and transform how these public sector bodies operate. This was echoed by Chancellor Philip Hammond who said: “Britain is a world leader in digital innovation with some of the brightest and best tech-firms operating in this country. Working with us, they can provide technological fixes to public sector problems, boost productivity, and get the nation working smarter as we create an economy fit for the future”.
‘Collaboration is fundamental to success’
Analytics Engines Head of Data Analytics Solutions, Conor Dumigan said that being part of a GovTech challenge and collaborating with Connected Places Catapult “represents a huge opportunity to really showcase our capability and truly transform how public sector organisations operate”.
“However, this cannot be a technology-led process – collaboration is fundamental to success. Partnering with the councils on this journey will ensure that the solution delivers value, is innovative, user-friendly and, most importantly, is fit for purpose,” he said.
Efficient and effective allocation of resources remains one of the greatest challenges that governments, city managers and business organisations can face.
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