Unlocking the potential of Gov.Tech
September 12, 2017
The modern state is undergoing an extraordinary transformation, with rapid advances in technology changing the way citizens engage with public services. Government and the public sector is responding to this demand (see Figure) but how can tech businesses, including new start-ups, help?
Beyond the state, start-ups and smaller technology (especially product focused) companies are gearing up to improve the way that the public sector operates and delivers to its citizens to meet this demand. This is the exciting potential of Gov.Tech.
At PwC, we are investing in innovation and new technologies and, as part of this drive, we are supporting Public (www.public.io) - an organisation which aims to transform the public sector by unlocking the potential of start-ups.
In a recent report, Public has estimated that the Gov.Tech market is currently at least £6.6bn, and forecast it to grow to at least £20bn by 2025. This is driven by the renewal of large IT contracts, a move towards a greater share of public procurement from SMEs, venture capital investment in emerging technologies and an increase in the number of organisations whose products meet societal need. We are also seeing significant increases in deal volumes and values.
The report builds upon previous research by PwC which examined the growth of the sector and set out an agenda for action for purchasers and commissioners, big businesses and the funding community to play their part in enabling the sector to flourish. There is a key role for policy makers here to get behind Gov.Tech – by creating incentives for the public sector to adopt new technologies and improving how the procurement process can encourage tech startups.
‘The State of the GovTech Market’ report also uniquely scopes the current landscape with an inaugural Public 100, the most comprehensive list of of Gov.Tech firms to date, and shines a spotlight on examples such as: Ask the Midwife, a midwifery advice platform for expecting mothers; Cera, an all-in-one healthcare platform for homecare; and Pockit, a company that uses new technology to deliver bank accounts to support those on low incomes and vulnerable to the Poverty Premium.
In this market, Brexit presents an opportunity to bolster the UK Gov.Tech market as government policies, process and systems need to be redefined, from rural payments to customs arrangements and personal identification. At the same time access to European talent is crucial to the UK Gov.Tech market, so building the UK tech skills base will need to be a key focus. In addition, Gov.Tech companies will need support to export their products post Brexit.
There is a massive market and societal opportunity here for policy makers and investors through to citizens and budding entrepreneurs: to start a business and scale rapidly while contributing to improving public services, solving some of society’s most entrenched issues and in the process make the world a better (and better governed) place.
With such a fertile environment and the unique presence of scale of market, the UK is geared to become the world’s leading Gov.Tech hub. It is a very exciting time for Gov.Tech.