Guidelines for AI procurement in government

Supporting the public sector in exploring artificial intelligence solutions

Our new toolkit will help organizations in the public sector build leading artificial intelligence (AI) procurement practices, set a new efficient, ethical standard, and accelerate AI adoption.

Using procurement to drive AI adoption in the public sector

AI holds tremendous potential for public sector institutions. It has the power to enhance government operations, as well as improve services to citizens. But governments are still relatively inexperienced in acquiring modern AI solutions and can be cautious about adopting new technology. The World Economic Forum, in partnership with Deloitte and the UK government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence, has developed a toolkit to assist public sector organizations seeking to procure AI solutions.

This toolkit—AI procurement in a box—consists of five reports designed to help public sector entities access the most up-to-date knowledge in the increasingly specialized field of AI. Using our AI government procurement guidelines as a starting point, the toolkit also includes an implementation workbook, a report that outlines challenges and opportunities during this implementation, and finally, some useful case studies from the United Kingdom.

By guiding the process of AI procurement, we aim to address major AI adoption pain points early in the process and make it easier for governments to implement this advanced technology. Our goal is to help public sector institutions to:

  • Create clear specifications that address concerns of bias, privacy, accountability, transparency, and proportionality.
  • Build dynamic, competitive AI marketplaces that allow governments to tap into the best talent.
  • Evolve the established principles of good government technology procurement, including existing measures such as frameworks, diversity and inclusion practices, and model contracts.
  • Establish responsible AI practices today to better position governments to asses the benefits and risks of future AI applications.
  • Set a baseline for discussions surrounding AI standards in the market, which are often heavily influenced by a government’s moral authority and credibility, as well as its considerable purchasing power.

These new resources will assist all parties involved in the procurement process to new, AI-powered systems that benefit the public and safeguard their well-being.

Access the full suite of resources

Access the procurement guidelines

Overview of the guidelines

The guidelines contain 10 high-level recommendations public sector procurement and commercial teams:

  1. Focus on outlining the problems and opportunities they’re looking to solve, using procurement vehicles that promote iterative solution development.
  2. Define the public benefit of using AI, while also assessing the risks.
  3. Align with relevant existing government strategies and contribute to their improvement.
  4. Incorporate relevant legislation and codes of practice.
  5. Articulate the feasibility of accessing data that may be relevant for the AI solution.
  6. Highlight any limitations of potential data.
  7. Work with a diverse, multidisciplinary team.
  8. Focus on algorithmic accountability and transparency.
  9. Plan for the support that will be required to operate the tool throughout its life cycle.
  10. Create a fair, level playing field among AI-solution providers.

These are discussed in detail in the full report.

Contact us

We would be happy to speak with you about these guidelines and how they apply to your AI evolution.

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