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UK Government releases AI procurement guidelines

UK Government releases AI procurement guidelines

In today’s blog we review the UK Government’s new draft procurement guidelines for AI.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major part of all our lives and societies. From popular voice command applications like Siri and Alexa; to business spam filters; and connected cars like Tesla; AI is all around us. Increasingly, AI is  being introduced within the public service sector with a view to improving efficiency, reducing costs, saving time and enhancing quality. Yet with ethical and privacy concerns being the opposite side of the coin, last month the UK government released draft guidelines for AI procurement within the public sector.


According to document the new AI procurement guidelines will help inform and empower buyers in the public sector, helping them to evaluate suppliers, then confidently and responsibly procure technologies for the benefit of citizens.



The UK AI procurement guidelines are broken down into the following steps:

  1. Explore procurement processes that focus on the challenge rather than a specific solution
  2.  Define the public benefit of using AI while assessing risks
  3. Include your procurement within a strategy for AI adoption
  4. Incorporate references to legislation and codes of practice in the invitation to tender
  5. Articulate the technical feasibility and governance considerations of obtaining relevant data
  6. Develop a strategy to address technical and ethical limitations of using training data
  7. Conduct procurement with diverse multidisciplinary teams
  8. Focus on mechanisms of accountability and transparency throughout procurement
  9. Consider the life-cycle management of the AI system
  10. Creative a level and fair playing field for suppliers


Who are procurement guidances applicable to

The UK Office for AI offers that the procurement guidance are for multidisciplinary teams involved in public procurement decisions relating to AI projects:

Policy officials and organisation leads considering an AI-based solution and/or planning and delivering AI projects
Procurement officials and commercial teams responsible for the planning and delivery of AI projects
Analysts, data scientists and digital, data and technology experts who are developing project-specific requirements and evaluating, using and maintaining AI systems
Chief Data, Information, Technology and Innovation Officers considering planning and delivering AI projects
Suppliers who want to better understand the best practice processes, technical and ethical expectations for AI projects, and to tailor their offerings appropriately


A pilot of the UK AI procurement guidelines is expected to begin this Autumn.


If your company is currently considering procuring or developing an AI system, Aphaia’s AI ethics assessments  will assist in ensuring that it falls within the scope of the EU’s and UK’s ethical framework.


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