A new partnership has been forged to help drive innovation in public services for the south of Scotland.

Civtech – the Scottish Government’s tech accelerator programme – has signed a memorandum of understanding with the economic development agency for the borders region.

South of Scotland Enterprise – headed by Jane Morrison-Ross, the former chief executive of tech trade body ScotlandIS – will work with CivTech on projects that support digital innovation in the region.

She said: “This new partnership with CivTech will aim to provide inclusive opportunities for community groups, third sector and public sector organisations across the South of Scotland to access innovation, or indeed create innovative solutions.

“This agreement reinforces SOSE’s commitment to innovation, net zero and digital development, all of which are key priorities which we want the South of Scotland to be leading on.”

SOSE is already working with the programme by co-sponsoring two CivTech challenges, helping innovators, entrepreneurs, start-ups or businesses a route to develop products the public sector needs.

The first is a partnership between SOSE, John Muir Trust, the Langholm Initiative community development trust and Southern Uplands Partnership aiming to discover how technology can help landowners better understand the potential for carbon storage and inform land-use decisions.

The second is a partnership with SOSE and social enterprise Care Training Consortium, which aims to discover if trainers can assess the skills and practice competence of learners, using remote and online services.

The new agreement will look to strengthen that working relationship between SOSE and CivTech, and deliver additional benefit to the south of Scotland. 

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, said: “As the world’s first government-run accelerator for digital public services, CivTech works with organisations like SOSE to tackle various challenges faced across Scotland in collaboration with innovative private sector talent, experience and resources.

“As we navigate our new digital landscape, we must drive innovation in the public sector by connecting it to the nation’s tech talent, particularly SMEs and start-ups to deliver achievable and meaningful results.

“This new partnership with SOSE is another powerful example of how Tech for Good can be used in our communities to deliver better public services and improve the lives of citizens.”