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Accelerate@Serco: Embracing innovation to safeguard society and reduce reoffending

Innovation is one of the four core Values that shape our culture and how we do business. We are always ready to challenge the status quo, champion new ideas and find ways to extend innovation to enhance business results. To help us do that, we actively seek out market disrupters whose values align to our own and whose products and services have the potential to create significant benefit for our customers and service users.

From April to December 2019, we ran the Accelerate@Serco programme, an unparalleled opportunity for start-up solution providers from around the globe to step into our world and get behind the scenes with leading business and service delivery experts serving the UK justice system. Through the ten-week programme, start-up teams worked with us onsite – exploring key challenges in our sector, receiving specialist mentoring from our leadership team and gaining access to live operational environments for tests, trials and demonstrations.

Whilst the programme was designed to capture all types of innovation applicable to the Justice and Immigration sector, it focused on four key categories: Welfare and Rehabilitation, Behaviour Analytics, Internet of Things and Asset Management, and Creating a Dynamic Workforce.

After receiving over 100 applications, we invited 11 teams to pitch their solutions to us, of whom five were selected to join the programme.

The final day of the programme was ‘Demo Day’, on which three remaining finalists presented their proposals for ongoing partnership with Serco. One of the three finalists is now working with us on the implementation of their solution (Virtual Reality-based immersive therapy and training) in custodial environments, while the others have been introduced to other Serco business units where there is potential for ongoing engagement.

Julia Rogers, Chief Operations Officer for Serco UK & Europe, said: “At Serco, we pride ourselves on our ability to bring innovation to public services. Ten years ago, we introduced the first in-cell telephones for prisons and we have continued to innovate ever since, but we know that we can do more. This programme is helping us harness the agility and capabilities of subject matter experts who can enable us to accelerate.”