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Bought into the AI and Automation hype but don’t know where to start?

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  1. Public sector organisations are committed to delivering high-quality services to citizens. But budgets, timeframes and skill-sets can conspire together to making this harder than perhaps it should be to achieve.  

And despite the hype around them, getting started with tools like AI or process automation, which profess to provide some significant solutions to these challenges, can be a real challenge. What should we prioritise? What work should we do on our data and our files before doing anything clever and how do we bring our teams along on the journey without freaking them out!

Forward looking organisations are increasingly looking to embrace change and future-proof by implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. These emerging technologies offer various benefits, including supporting better data management, making public services more accessible and streamlining processes for increased productivity.

A depiction of what 'AI' looks like. The word is being held by a hand, and there are icons surrounding it.

Crown Commercial Services (CCS) recently came to market with two Dynamic Purchasing Systems to support this, Artificial Intelligence (RM6200) and Automation Marketplace DPS (RM6173). These agreements allow public sector bodies to procure the following services: 

Artificial Intelligence

Scope of engagement

Type of AI


  • AI discovery 
  • Licencing customisation and support 
  • End-to-end partnerships 
  • AI applications 
  • Augmented decision making 
  • Data and analytics 
  • Virtual assistants and chatbots 
  • Blue light 
  • Central government 
  • Devolved administrations 
  • Health 
  • Local government 
  • Not-for-profit organisations 


Automation Marketplace

Design – strategy and business transformation

Build – problem solving with tech solutions 

Licences – products and services licences

  • Business case development 
  • Benefits realisation 
  • Analytics 
  • Cloud migration strategy 
  • Automation roadmapping 
  • Customer journey 
  • Setting up a centre of excellence 
  • Business case optimisation 
  • Business process improvement 
  • Process discovery 
  • Robotic process automation 
  • Optical character recognition 
  • Machine learning 
  • Smart workflow 
  • Analytics 
  • Orchestration licences relating to “build – problem solving with tech solutions” 
  • Components licences relating to “build – problem solving with tech solutions” 
  • Software as a Service 
  • Platform as a Service 
  • Analytics licences 
  • Cloud based managed services
  • Automation operation and managed services 

Are AI and Automation different? 

AI involves the simulation of human intelligence by machines, enabling tasks such as learning and decision making. It adapts and improves over time, learning and analysing data and recognising patterns.  

Automation, however, uses technology to perform tasks without people, and instead follows pre-set rules and instructions. Automation is meant to streamline and make processes more efficient, saving time and money in the process. AI focuses on developing intelligent systems while automation simplifies tasks.

Where things get interesting is with the application of AI into process automation to create ‘intelligent process automation’. This is a term that you will hear used to describe specific use cases such as complex case management or in the parsing, summarisation, creation and delivery of human generated content inside a process like an email inbox, or customer services which may occur in the form of a chat bot. 

What can CDS do for you?

CDS specialises providing professional services in the discovery, design, engineering, and implementation of technology solutions. While technology agnostic, we work with an ecosystem of trusted software partners ensuring that our clients achieve maximum value from their investment.  

Our approach to AI and automation is no different.

If you are new to AI or automation, CDS will help you build your case for investment, understand the AI and automation landscape, advise on best practice, run and manage your discovery process and engineer your solution. The great news is that you can now use the Artificial Intelligence and Automation Marketplace DPS’ to commission projects and start your business transformation journey with confidence. 

CCS RM6200 Artificial Intelligence - What about Generative Ai? What has CDS done?

One of the most exciting AI technologies is Generative AI. Even though it is just a year since these technologies came into public consciousness, they have sparked enormous excitement, some trepidation, and a significant amount of FOMO (Fear of missing out).

It is often sensible to regulate excitement with some practical thinking, particularly for organisations in the public sector or regulated markets which operate at an enhanced level of security and governance.  

Generative AI ‘in the raw’ comes with a couple of significant and innate concerns. Firstly, around data privacy and domicile, and secondly around the accuracy and validity of the responses it provides (it’s generative right? And it just wants to help!)  

A person using a digital tablet with a sunset, city-scape in the background.

For Generative AI to be ‘enterprise ready’ these naturally occurring challenges such as hallucination, factual inaccuracy and access to data need to be controlled. To achieve this CDS has engineered a (Generative Pre-Trained) GPT solution, using a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) technique. In simple terms, this tells the clever large language model with the ability to sound human in its response, exactly what content to look at to form its answer and exactly how it should answer in order to meet a specific requirement.  

Applications for this RAG technique include content summarisation and what we’re calling ‘super search’ because our tool can search inside any content you have. Web content, office files and even pdf documents, that are typically impenetrable unless a human is reading them. We can also apply it into chat bots that (unlike some of the horror stories you may have read) will only respond to requests based on the corpus of information you have supplied.

Our own version of this tool is live on the CDS website at and this will answer any questions you may have about the work of CDS, our clients, our technology partners and our approach. It won’t help you with the meaning of life, sadly. At least not yet.

Reach out to Dom Baker our Head of Innovation ( to discuss your specific circumstances.

Or, if you’re ready and know what you need:

More detail about the RM6200 and RM6173

Artificial Intelligence DPS  

Discovery and consultancy services related to artificial intelligence (AI), implementation and support of AI systems, end-to-end partnerships, and AI technologies.

The type of technology available using the development, implementation and support of AI services includes AI software applications, machine learning to help with data analytics, intelligent virtual assistants and intelligent personal assistants.

  • Live until 04/11/2024 
  • Direct award and mini-competition available 
  • Contracts are typically up to two years but may be extended up to four years 

The services we can provide includes:


Automation Marketplace DPS

Intelligent automation services and solutions, including automation technologies, services, consultancy and licences to support with streamlining processes and systems across the Public Sector. 

  • Live until 15/11/2024
  • Direct award and mini-competition available 
  • Contracts are typically up to two years but may be extended up to four years.

The services we can provide includes: