Innovation challenge reaches first milestone


This week, five suppliers will end work on Phase 1 of the Govtech Catalyst Challenge.The GovTech Catalyst is a UK Government scheme which aims to help technology firms develop innovative solutions to public sector challenges.

Torfaen’s successful bid to the GovTech Catalyst resulted in a bid of up to £1.25 million of Cabinet Office funding to encourage technology firms to develop solutions to deliver better adult social care through the use of data and digital technology.

The five suppliers who started working with Torfaen Council in November 2019 were whittled down from 272 registered suppliers and 86 applications.

In Phase 1, the five suppliers received funding of up to £50,000 to cover research and development costs and have spent three months developing their ideas and testing them with members of the community, the third sector and other organisations.

At the end of this research and development phase, it is expected the new insight will help deliver more effective adult social care and the best of these could be awarded up to £500,000 in Phase 2 to turn potential solutions into viable products or services.

Cllr David Daniels, Torfaen’s Executive Member for Adult Services, said: ‘Public services and the communities they serve are facing some pretty big challenges. We don’t always have the answers to these.

‘We know that adult social care services will play a major part in keeping some of us independent, living well in the community, and out of hospital for longer. We know that we’ll need to be smarter in targeting support to those that need it most and that if we don’t find innovative health and social care solutions, then public services will not be able to cope with future demand.

Jim Wright, Development and Day Opportunities Team Manager for Torfaen Council, said: ‘At the end of this phase we’ll take stock and review the solutions and process so far. During February and March, the next step will be for the five suppliers to submit written reports and present their business cases to the council and Cabinet Office. A workshop will then decide which supplier or suppliers have the potential to progress to Phase 2 which could be worth up to £500,000 each.’

Notes for editors

GovTech Catalyst is a mechanism to enable the public sector to procure digital and technological innovation by engaging with innovative companies to gain access to the best solutions.

Phase 1 of the challenge opened on 10th June and applications closed on the 24th July 2019.  272 suppliers registered for the challenge via the Innovate UK portal and from this 86 applications were received. Applications were made from all over the UK, 9% of which were applications from businesses based in Wales.               

Following assessment via an independent Innovate UK panel, five contracts were awarded to undertake innovative projects including a range of digital technologies.

Phase 2 will last 12 months.

The five companies selected for Phase 1 were:

  • Analytic Engines which delivers creative, agile data solutions that are as unique as the challenges they solve. They have previously supported organisations across every phase of their data journey. They set out to build better intelligence, reduce complexity and optimise performance.
  • CarefulAI is an ethical data, computer, management and behavioural science firm. They aim to enable health & social care systems to deliver tenfold improvements, in a manner that reduces the risk of investment in data driven technologies.
  • nquiringminds is a company specialising in Smart Cities, data analytics and Internet of Things. Previous solutions have focussed around digital transformation, using expertise in the Internet of things and data analytics spaces to unlock efficiency and cost savings in existing and new processes.
  • Service Robotics was founded to bring the benefits of the robotics and AI revolution to ordinary people, by delivery of independent living solutions for older adults. Their service offers a host of additional capabilities in physical and cognitive health monitoring and management as well as integration with other assistive technologies.
  • Spry Care is working to enhance both the speed and quality of modern home care procurement and management for the benefit of councils, carers, clients and their families.
Posted on: Friday 7th February 2020