SCCANZ in action: Procuring the smart city

Today, it is expected that political leaders will look after the best interests of business and the community through competitive bidding processes that ensure they’re getting the best value from investing public money.

As a result, governments have instituted procurement processes to ensure those demands are met, and that there is oversight and accountability at every step of the process.

However, there are smarter approaches available today that can streamline government procurement without side-stepping transparency and diligent stewardship of public funds.

Smart Cities Council Australia New Zealand recently assembled a range of stakeholders across government, industry and non-profit sectors to discuss smart cities procurement. The outcomes of this session were documented, reporting on the issues discussed during the day and a series of recommendations for shaping more smart cities-friendly procurement policies and processes.

Some key issues were identified by the group, including:

  • Consensus that procurement practices work best on single transactions, and smart cities projects are much more complex.
  • Local government legislation clauses related to procurement are written for a mature market — procuring a waste services provider, or landscaping contractor — not new-to-market technologies that require a more iterative approach.
  • Security and privacy concerns with smart cities solutions, and the lack of standard protocols to support security and privacy, are hurdles to procurement of new solutions.

To address some of these constraints, the following was recommended:

  • Identifying and forming new partnerships with aligned organisations who can support this important agenda.
  • Advancing SCCANZ’s ongoing investigation of using the Australian government’s City Deals program as a vehicle for procurement refinement and reform.
  • The creation of resources, such as Guidance Notes, training programs, handbooks and case studies.

The outcomes from this session are being advanced by the SCCANZ Policy and Leadership Task Force. However, stakeholders interested in supporting this important agenda are encouraged to contact Adam Beck at adam.beck@anz.smartcitiescouncil.com.

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