AI in the Public Sector
The niche market of Public Sector AI has vast potential, so be sure to get clued-up on the opportunities laid out here. We've broken it down by the typical questions asked...
Is the Public Sector buying AI tech?
The short answer to this question is yes. The Industrial Strategy White Paper named ‘Artificial Intelligence and Data’ as one of the four global trends labelled as ‘Grand Challenges’. Above all, they will transform our future and contribute to the Government’s long-term plan to boost productivity. PwC estimates AI could boost the global economy with $15.7 trillion input by 2030, and the UK places in the top three countries of AI development! It also ranked second in terms of AI readiness in the world and top in Europe in 2019.
The announcement of investment plans by the UK Government has brought many innovative tech organisations to the forefront. With substantial figures, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity; for example, up £93 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will be invested into the robotics and AI in extreme environments programme! Furthermore, the Government will provide £20 million for the application of AI in the services sector through the Next Generation Services Industrial Strategy Challenge, and another £20 million for a new GovTech Fund, supported by GovTech Catalyst. The latter will support tech businesses to provide more innovative solutions for more efficient public services. You can find further information on the public sector AI plans via the AI Sector Deal policy paper.
What is the Public Sector buying?
All variations of AI are being used by the public sector to enhance processes. Below are several examples of previous procurement projects from various areas of the wider public sector.
|Organisation||AI Type||Aim & Impact|
|DFID||Computer Vision||Aim: To generate population estimates in developing countries.
Impact: The GRID3 model (Geo-Referenced Infrastructure Demographic Data for Development) has been used to develop a hybrid census model and support developing countries as they plan their full censuses. The GRID3 organisation now works with Governments across the world.
|Department for Transport||Clustering||Aim: For the DVSA to create a more intelligent, data-driven approach to ensure MOT standards remained high.
Impact: The project now sees examiners’ preparation time for enforcement visits cut by 50%.
|Market Research startup||Classification, Clustering, Natural Language Processing||Aim: To develop more in-depth insight into free-text survey responses.
Impact: The model was deployed as a dashboard which allowed for real-time insights and rapid analysis. Valuable insights were efficiently unlocked via clustering, which informed the ongoing business strategy.
|Ministry of Justice||Natural Language Processing||Aim: To compare how various factors affected different prisons; with 500+ reports of prison inspections, it was impossible to compare the qualitative data by hand.
Impact: The new tool has helped identify patterns of issues and geographic trends to inform data-driven decisions on inspections and policy.
How is the Public Sector buying AI?
The public sector may use almost any route to market via the Digital Marketplace as buyers of AI tech. The Artificial Intelligence Dynamic Purchasing System is a primary way for the public sector to procure AI solutions and services. It is one of the latest routes to market from Crown Commercial Services, who estimate the value as being £100 million. Click here to Get to know the AI DPS with us.
The AI DPS opens for suppliers on 5th August when the OJEU is published and will go live for public sector buyers and organisations on 3rd September. At the end of this blog, you will find a clickable image where you can book a free consultation with us!
While the AI DPS is the most common route for AI due to the specified niche, some suppliers and buyers may wish to utilise a different framework. This decision may be influenced by the nature of the software on offer or sought after, for example. Other options you may consider, include:
- Cloud software and services – such as on the ‘G-Cloud’ framework. G-Cloud 12 very recently closed for supplier applications, but keep an eye out for updates from us on any other cloud software routes!
- Digital outcomes, digital specialists and user research services. The ‘Digital Outcomes and Specialists‘ framework (DOS) falls into this bracket, and unlike the AI DPS, the DOS framework has a limited application window. Therefore, suppliers must be on the ball to get on there once applications open, which they are due to do soon for the fifth iteration!
You can only apply to a framework following the issue of an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) contract notice. At this point, suppliers will usually have 4 to 6 weeks to apply to the framework – so make sure you keep up to date with what’s opening up.
So there you have it! The public sector has bought and used AI in its early forms and is only planning to do so more often. Make sure to book in a consultation with us below if you want to be part of it!