Social value, procurement and a smart city vision

Brian Bishop

“Smart cities are cities that utilise the Internet and Digital Technology to enhance the quality of life, performance of services and reduce costs by optimising energy consumption. The focus is on creating a framework with good connectivity and access to real time information for setting up an efficient management system that establishes a relationship between citizens, service providers and administrators.

It ensures that citizens actively engage in improving the overall productivity and sustainability of services by equipping cities with basic infrastructure” (Aakash, 2017). Smart Cities market is projected to grow from $386.55 billion (€311.28 billion) in 2014 to $1,386.56 billion (€1116.57 billion) in 2020, at a CAGR of 20.48% over the forecast period (Aakash, 2017).

In summary:

  • The application of a wide range of electronic and digital technologies to communities and cities.
  • The use of ICT to transform life and working environments within the region.
  • The embedding of such ICTs in government systems.
  • The territorialisation of practices that brings ICTs and people together, to enhance the innovation and knowledge that they offer (Aakash, 2017).

The smart city model can focus on a variety of areas: public transport, green spaces, waste collection and social sustainability, says Brian Bishop, CEO, Data Performance Consultancy Limited.

London is driving smart innovation in areas such as public transport through working with start-up companies like CityMapper (CityMapper, 2017).

Bristol created the Smart Energy City Collaboration to capture, analyse and act on smart energy data for the benefit of people and businesses across the city (Cse, 2017). Manchester has established a “smart quarter” (Triangulum) to pursue the objective of becoming one of the largest knowledge driven low carbon districts in Europe (Triangulum, 2017).

It is important to realise the relevance of the community and therefore not isolate or create “silos of data” as has been the practices over decades of government services. The word “Interoperability” must now be the focus of delivery and this should run through to all services across a region.

Through the introduction of a Smart City infrastructure the ability to strategically manage city wide services becomes more sustainable, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organised, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit.” (Pollard)

By facilitating this you could then deliver any future potential devolution plans. This will also allow for continual improvement strategies and build the world’s first true Smart City and the benchmark for all cities to follow. Procurement needs to be the central pillar that you build this around.

ONS (2016) report the public sector spends approximately £268 billion (€303.96 billion) per year, equivalent to 14% of GDP. Taking a strategic approach to government procurement presents the opportunity to support investment in innovation and skills, strengthen UK supply chains, and increase competition – by creating more opportunities for SMEs. This means creating the right conditions to put UK supply chains in the strongest possible position to compete for contracts based on best value for the taxpayer.

The public sector can use its demand – particularly when its needs are novel or complex – to drive innovation from industry, stimulating and accelerating the development of new and transformational products and services. The government has committed to raise SMEs’ share of central procurement to one-third and to ensure all major government suppliers sign up to the prompt payment code, promising to pay suppliers, including small businesses, promptly and fairly (Fallon, 2013).

It is DPC’s considered opinion that a smart procurement strategy provides the spine to the whole smart city agenda.

This links all the verticals of service delivery and facilitates the ability to build systems that can provide Commissioners real time analysis of data that can have an impact on the design specification of procurement specifications. It also provides an opportunity to develop a Smart Market Place for a region, which again allows for the development of extensive economic growth on a regional level. If you also add in the opportunity to integrate more social value into those decision’s, your city can deliver the technology needs for a city whilst also creating efficiencies and economic benefit to the region.

Data Performance Consultancy’s vision for a Smart City is not to just look at technology as a solution, there has to be embedded social value components delivered, we believe that these can be delivered using existing resources and through the use of Social impact Investment or Bonds to drive infrastructure requirements and deliver efficiencies that repay the investment and hence the tax payers see improvement whilst not having to see increased rates.

The author of this blog is Brian Bishop, CEO, Data Performance Consultancy Limited

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