Funding competition SBRI: intelligent data to transform local council service delivery

Transforming local council service delivery by analysing and using intelligently captured data.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


This is a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition with funding provided by the GovTech Catalyst.

This competition is sponsored by Durham County Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. They want to gather and analyse data from new sources, such as information collected by residents or data captured using council vehicles. They will use this data and analysis to improve delivery across their services.

This competition looks at 2 specific data-gathering techniques in local council services:

1.‘Boots on the ground’: enabling residents to collect and report accurate data about public assets, such as potholes and street lighting, to the local council.

2.‘Eyes on the street’: using local council vehicles to collect and report data as they travel around the borough.

These collection and reporting methods should enable better analysis, leading to a more efficient service delivery.

This is the first phase of a 2-phase competition.

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects to range in size up to total costs of £50,000, including VAT, per organisation. Projects are expected to start by 7 February 2019.

Who can apply

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation, of any size
  • work alone or with others (businesses, research base or third sector) as subcontractors

Your application must have at least 50% of its contract value attributed directly and exclusively to research and development (R&D). R&D can cover solution exploration and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

Projects that we will not fund

We will not fund the development of new hardware, such as sensors.

Funding and project details

The programme will be delivered in 2 phases. This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from phase 1. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will participate in phase 2.

Phase 1: feasibility study

The feasibility study research and development (R&D) contracts will be awarded to demonstrate technical feasibility of the proposed solution. We are looking for a digital solution with commercial potential. £250,000, including VAT, will be awarded in total. We expect to fund up to 5 projects for up to 3 months and award each up to £50,000, including VAT.

Phase 2: research and development contracts

We expect to award 2 R&D contracts to successful phase 1 applicants for up to 12 months. They should focus on prototype development and testing. The end result will be a prototype installation that can test functionality. Up to £500,000, including VAT, will be allocated for each contract.

Competition scope

Your proposed solution must demonstrate intelligent data capture and reporting, and the application of advanced data analysis. This analysis must handle data collected by individuals and data gathered by vehicles.

Your solution must:

  • record and report local information accurately on a regular cycle
  • significantly reduce service inefficiencies
  • integrate with other datasets in the local councils
  • provide a robust evidence base for policy, service or budget development
  • engage with the general public
  • enable councils to share data appropriately with the public
  • be practical and economically viable

Several organisations are interested in purchasing the solutions. They either have:

  • public assets or
  • responsibilities for data capture and analysis from the public realm

Your solution must be a demonstrator that is scalable and applicable to many different uses and sectors. Your solution is more likely to be purchased if you include a clear invest-to-save business case.

You must use Durham County Council and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council as test beds. This will establish core design principles for service delivery transformation through intelligent data capture, reporting and analysis.

The sponsors encourage you to:

  • collaborate to avoid duplication or partial solutions
  • emphasise innovation
  • demonstrate your capability
24 September 2018
Competition opens
8 October 2018
Durham briefing event
15 October 2018
Blaenau Gwent briefing event
31 October 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
7 November 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
9 January 2019
Applicants notified of decision
7 February 2019
Phase 1 contracts awarded
7 February 2019
Feedback provided

Before you start

To apply:

  • register online using the green button
  • read the guidance for applicants for this competition
  • consider attending one of the briefing events listed in ‘Dates’
  • complete and upload your online application to our secure server

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A selected panel of experts will assess the quality your application. You must use Microsoft Word for the application form or it will be deemed ineligible.

Background and further information

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document, which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

Additional information on datasets is available from the Durham County Council GovTech website which will include briefing event slides.

If you want help to find a project partner, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, email us at or contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357.

If you have any questions on the scope of this competition please email

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