Articles United Kingdom
22 June 2021 3 mins read

What’s the Innovation Partnership procedure?

We were intrigued to help a client recently on their approach to an Innovation Partnership response, which is a relatively unusual procedure in the public sector bidding world.

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What is an Innovation Partnership?

For context, public sector bidding follows set procedures that determine how the purchasing body goes to market. Those procedures set things like timescales, process, minimum numbers of bidders, who is allowed to bid, and what forms need filling out when. The three kinds we see the most of are:

  1. Open — anyone can go for these bids, and they’re simple and fast
  2. Restricted — these are limited to only certain suppliers, and it’s a simple process
  3. Competitive (Dialogue or Negotiation) — both are complicated and time-consuming.

What is not seen often is the Innovation Partnership. The Innovation Partnership is aimed at the development of new and innovative products or services. So if you want to buy something that doesn’t exist on the market, this is a way you can encourage suppliers to invest in the R&D needed to develop the new thing, which is usually either a product or service.

The public body can enter into a long-term contract with a supplier to develop the new product or service, and then procure the new thing once it’s developed. This gives the supplier certainty that they will be able to sell the result, and can involve payment for development too.