Our findings from in-depth discussions with Local Government changemakers and SMEs
Our research - through in depth discussion with Local Government Changemakers and SMEs, including at our Birmingham Unconference - shows that the proven, creative solutions that SMEs bring to the public sector need to be amplified.
To do this, they need to be showcased at the service design stage - when Local Government are open to the widest range of options and want to emulate the best that is happening in their service sector across the UK.
The Local Government customers for this are service heads and design thinkers rather than technologists or procurement professionals.
Local Government Authority Change Agents
Local government service redesign people need to know how technology has enabled innovation in other Local Authorities.
Many problems they are facing have already been solved by another council, working in collaboration with innovative small companies. They do not have time to read long case studies. At present, their research consists of attending conferences and occasional site visits to other councils. These are expensive and cannot be shared.
Our approach uses video content rather than exclusively text-based resources. In the space of a day, 20 or so relevant videos can be downloaded and viewed by a member of staff redesigning a service - they can be up to speed with the best and most innovative Councils in the country.
Local Authority technical and procurement teams use Crown Commercial Services GCloud lists of potential providers to attempt to find candidate technology providers.
This can be simply a long text-based list and it is very hard to find providers relevant to their specific services.
There are over 700 lines of business being run by Local Government in the UK so it is not surprising that it is hard to find relevant technology providers.
For market research, we ran a “Problem Definition UnConference” attended by Local Authorities, SMEs and Procurement organisations.
Prototype showcasing videos were made for 5 SMEs as a proof of concept.
Lessons have been learned and refinements made to the content of the videos based on feedback from SMEs and Local Government.
What is the product?
What types of services challenges does it/can it address?
How does it work in practice? What are the short, medium and long-term implications and impact of the product?
Where has this previously been used?
What savings did a client or Local Authority make as a result of using the product?
They need to engage with Local Authorities earlier in the service design process rather than at the technology specification/procurement phase.
Local authorities are often using yesterday’s technologies to solve today’s problems.
There are over 700 lines of business being run by Local Government in the UK.
It is very difficult to engage with the right person in a council, or to be clear which services their product may be relevant to.
We are still building a full picture of engagement currently happening between Local Authorities and SMEs.
We want to hear about your experiences.
Our short survey will help us build a picture of what councils need from SMEs for them to have a more positive experience of procurement - and how councils can be more aware of the innovative solutions SMEs are currently offering.