Bringing prisons into the 21st century – Serco launches Innovation Lab (Sponsored)

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Serco, an international public services company, has partnered with innovation specialist L Marks to launch Accelerate@Serco, its first Innovation Programme, to its open doors to tech businesses. Interested startups can apply for the programme until May 29 2019.

Accelerate@Serco is a new dynamic and immersive initiative which will give tech startups unprecedented behind the scenes access to one of the UK’s leading public service delivery experts.

The programme will help shape the future of public service delivery in the justice and immigration sectors, where Serco provides essential services for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. These include prison management, prisoner escort and custodial services, asylum seeker accommodation and support, and immigration removal services.

Successful applicants will get the opportunity to tackle real challenges by working alongside Serco to create and test solutions which can disseminate innovation throughout the public sector. Startups will also have access to live operational environments for trials and demonstrations, mentorship from the Serco leadership team and other subject matter experts and potential investment.

While Accelerate@Serco is inviting all market disruptors whose products and services align with the core Serco values to help rebuild lives and reduce the overall impact of crime on society to apply for the programme, this year’s challenge will focus on the following areas:

Welfare and Rehabilitation: Serco promotes a rehabilitative approach to justice with a focus on better understanding the needs of individual offenders. Its priority is helping offenders become less likely to reoffend. It wants to explore enabling technologies that complement its approach to welfare and rehabilitation and wants to explore solutions that can help to improve offender welfare and engagement in prison or support ex-offenders in rebuilding their lives.

Behaviour Analytics: Being able to operate prisons safely and securely is critical. Serco wants to create and maintain custodial environments that not only support, but also protect the offenders in their care, as well as the public and their people. Serco wants to explore technologies that support data analytics for monitoring offender behaviour or provide other insights to improve their capability for anticipating and mitigating incidents that put safety and security at risk.

IoT and Asset Management: Serco is passionate about helping governments deliver an effective justice system in a more efficient way and at lower costs. This category focuses on the concept of a ‘connected prison’ in which the automation and efficiency of asset and energy management is significantly increased. Specifically, Serco is interested in technologies that can help them to optimise energy efficiency in their facilities or mitigate the impact of asset degradation through self-healing materials and fault prediction.

Creating a Dynamic Workforce: Serco wants to provide its people with a safe place to work they can be proud of. At the same time, challenging working environments, combined with increasing demand for efficiency and rising service expectations, make attracting and selecting the right talent extremely important. Serco therefore wants to explore technologies that can: enable more flexible working and help create collaborative and connected work environments while also helping Serco to select the right people for demanding positions and support training.

Wildcard: This category is intended to capture anything that doesn’t fit into the above categories but could still enable Serco to remain at the cutting edge of developments within their sectors.

“At Serco, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring innovation to the public services that we provide,” said Julia Rogers, Managing Director, Justice and Immigration at Serco. “Ten years ago we introduced the first in-cell telephones in prisons and we have continued to innovate ever since. But we know that we need to do more and this partnership will help us harness the agility and capabilities of SMEs who can help us accelerate our innovation. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the bright ideas that people can bring us.”

“We are delighted to partner with Serco in delivering the very first innovation programme of this kind,” said Daniel Saunders, Chief Executive Officer of L Marks. “Ensuring the care of the individual is at the heart of this initiative, we are excited to bring technology and innovation to justice and immigration, transforming the delivery of these services consistently meets the needs of all their users. We are proud to be working with a company which is passionate about exploring cutting-edge strategies which can make a positive difference to society and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

Applications for Accelerete@Serco’s first cohort are open until 29th May, 2019. For more information about the programme and challenges, please visit www.serco.com/accelerate.

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