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Exclusive: YPO poised to launch UK’s first smart cities framework

Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO) has unveiled plans to supply local authorities with drones, bodyworn cameras and GPS software through the UK’s first smart cities framework.

The agency, which is owned by 13 local authorities in the North West but procures services on behalf of public sector organisations across the UK, claims the framework could be worth up to £100m.

Speaking to NS Tech earlier this week, YPO’s category manager Ashley Cartwright said research had revealed that councils and police forces around the country were struggling to procure the cutting-edge smart cities and surveillance technology they needed.

“We don’t think there’s anything out there like this at the moment,” he said. “It’s the first framework for smart cities solutions in the UK.”

A prior information notice, brought to NS Tech’s attention by Tussell, a government contracts data source, reveals that YPO is looking for providers to be appointed on to a dynamic purchasing system – a type of government framework that suppliers can join at any time. “Dynamic purchasing systems allow for startups to get involved,” said Cartwright. “They are open, fair and transparent.”

The framework covers “the provision of security and surveillance solutions including CCTV, access control, body worn video cameras along with smart city solutions such as number plate recognition camera, GPS software and Drones”, according to the notice.

Cartwright expects that local authorities in London will be the first to buy into the framework, given they tend to have stronger links to the startups supplying the technology. “It then makes its way up the country,” he added.

The framework is divided into 10 lots and is expected to remain open for at least four years. The contracts team responsible for the procurement can be contacted via contracts@ypo.co.uk or 01924834834.