UK-based Digital Catapult supports organisations in their digital transformation. During EIT’s Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative, Digital Catapult investigated how emerging data services can help the public sector which is facing significant change across Europe.

Data services for individuals and businesses are well established in the private sector, and increasingly in the public sector.

In the UK there is a focus on releasing the value of data, including personal data, for an improved delivery of services. The areas covered the project include social care, policing, waste collection, citizen engagement, planning, transportation, alcohol licensing, health, community safety and flood management.

Jamie Harrison, Innovation Programmes Manager from Digital Catapult said, “The growing burden of an ageing population, cyber threats, interoperability, legacy systems, decrease in funding, and decrease in public trust, are just a few of the complex challenges faced by the public sector.”

However, they also highlight a wealth of opportunities for the right platforms and solutions.

“Digital Catapult’s partnerships, including the EIT network, allowed us to engage those small businesses and experts with the potential to transform the public sector.”

In the UK some public services are already utilising personal data. Data is currently collected via numerous services from waste collection to care in the community initiatives.

“One of the biggest opportunities is in the development of services that enable sensitive data to be used, without compromising individuals privacy.”

He adds, “One of the biggest opportunities is in the development of services that enable sensitive data to be used, without compromising individuals privacy.”

Advanced approaches such as predictive analytics and machine learning, coupled with the use of efficiently delivered IT and data platforms can help make existing services and processes more effective by reducing the cost of delivery and waiting times, whilst improving quality of service. Such approaches also support the creation of new services catering to both individual citizens and businesses needs.

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The focus should be on sensitive data without compromising individuals privacy. This is one of the biggest opportunities for new services and platforms.

Data Platforms

Many technologies enable the creation of data services. Technologies may reside within a public body’s own premises and be owned and run by that public body, or be outsourced with the technology residing either in the public body’s premises or remotely at the outsourcing provider’s premises, or be delivered from the cloud using “as-a-service” business model.

There are various examples of interesting data platforms. For example, Leeds City Dashboard provides local information, wherever you go and whenever you need it. The dashboard shows weather, footfall trends, statutory notes, music and art events amongst other things.

Trafford Innovation Lab Platform for greater Manchester shows the deprivation levels in seven areas: income, employment, health and disability, education skills and training, barriers to housing and services, living environment and crime.

Meeco for instance, has developed a consent management approach that is designed to ensure compliance with the European GDPR data protection regulations, and through its Meeco Labs programme is hoping to work with public authorities as well as SMT’s.

Meeco created a personal data vault where users decide which companies can have access to individual elements of their personal information, such as age, address and photos.

The use of personal data management platforms may also help address concerns that public bodies currently hold in developing services that use personal data, or individuals sharing their own data.

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Pit Stops

Digital Catapult develops programmes to engage innovation ecosystems called Pit Stops. Each Pit Stop tackles a specific challenge in a key business area and culminates in a series of hands on workshops combined with debate, bringing these ecosystems together and forge partnerships.

Jamie Harrison adds “The Pit Stop model brings together key stakeholders in a given ecosystem to investigate a clearly defined challenge and collaboratively explore potential routes for development.

“During one and a half days, the pit stop brings together senior public sector workers with potential solution providers (the SMEs), key influencers as well as academic researches and other government representatives.”

One of the workshops at the EIT Pit Stop helped quickly identify over 30 individual touchpoints where data was exchanged between citizens and public authorities. In a subsequent exercise the Pit Stop participants considered the needs of a number of typical service users and generated an illustrative set of opportunities for service improvement and innovation.

For a summary of what happened at the EIT Digital Pit Stop, watch the overview video here

In Digital Catapult’s survey examining data service development, UK-based public sector respondents identified technology solutions and IT services that could benefit from delivering more effective and efficient services to citizens. Below is the list of areas identified by participants in a pre-workshop that could be transformed by data focused innovation, with a focus on enabling the use of personal data.

Road condition reporting Utilities (water, electricity, gas) Leisure / sport centres
Parking permits Emergency services DVLA
HMRC Library service Electoral register
Council tax GP Company registration
Council call centre Social care services Meals on Wheels
Housing department Planning department Hospitals
Public transport (bus, train) Health & safety department Waste collection
Trading standards In-work benefits Unemployment benefits
Passport office Courts Schools
Education department Adult education Motability
TV licensing Transport advice / information GP
Dentist Pharmacy

About EIT Digital

EIT Digital is one of the first Knowledge and Innovation Communities set up by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, as an initiative of the European Union. EIT Digital's mission is to drive European leadership in ICT innovation for economic growth and quality of life. Since 2010, EIT Digital has consistently brought together researchers, academics and business people. By linking education, research and business, EIT Digital empowers ICT top talents for the future and brings ICT innovations to life. EIT Digital's partners represent global companies, leading research centres, and top ranked universities in the field of ICT. For more information, visit