Public Services > Local Government

Manchester wants digital ideas to solve city centre problems

David Bicknell Published 04 July 2017

Council consultation looks for input to drive pilots as part of CityVerve smart cities demonstrator to meet challenges highlighted in 2016 City Centre Review


Manchester City Council is launching a market consultation to ascertain what digital solutions could help address challenges raised in a review of city centre issues.

The City Centre Review in late 2016 brought together the views of over 200 stakeholders including staff, businesses, city centre users, as well as public sector and third sector partners. It also took into account the views of Greater Manchester Police and made a number of findings and recommendations. 

The aim was to positively influence city services to facilitate ‘smart’ improvements and to help deliver more personal, efficient, flexible products and services.

Among the challenges that emerged from the review were:

Place issues : Draws together issues that affect the physical environment of the city centre, including: littering, alcohol and drug consumption, antisocial behaviour, charity collectors and business waste.

Rough sleeping, homelessness and begging : Issues relating to individuals and the impact that this has on the city centre.

Public Realm : Represents the publicly accessible areas of the city centre, looking at the space in total and how it is affected by the issues above.

Management and Governance : The leadership and coordination required to drive the delivery of improvements.

The aim of the consultation process is to help identify a number of technological needs for some small scale demonstration pilots as part of CityVerve, the UK’s smart cities demonstrator based in Manchester.

CityVerve is a consortium of 21 partners led by Manchester City Council and is funded by Innovate UK and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. It aims to provide a step-change to how cities use the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver smarter services, and create a real-life blueprint for smart cities worldwide.

The council’s intention is that feedback from the market could lead to the technological solutions that could address some of the issues raised by the review. It believes there is a research and development opportunity which would deliver several pilots addressing key themes.  Some of the areas suggested are:

  • Providing better insight into demand which could be used in real time to enable effective responses, analysed for trends and used to support democratic decision making
  • Joining up services across agencies so responses are better coordinated, or
  • Influencing behaviours using techniques including digital incentives

The city council wants companies to contribute to a market consultation process where there is an opportunity to suggest digital solutions that could address the issues raised during the City Centre Review.  A short application process will put ideas in front of city decision makers and help inform a second phase where the council may then go out to market for solutions.

The city council points out that those who respond to the market consultation will not put respondents in a more favourable position at tender stage. Likewise declining will not exclude anyone from tendering.

Documents about the City Centre Review are downloadable from the NW Chest procurement portal, and during the 2 week consultation process, responses and enquiries can be sent directly to

This process is separate from the tender process that will follow.

Documents relating to the market consultation can be found on the procurement portal with more information about CityVerve to be found at the organisation’s website .

The market consultation has already opened and closes at midnight on July 12.

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