IDEAS ranging from how to use tech to cut NHS waiting lists to helping young people with mental health issues are being championed under a Scottish Government link programme.

Tech firms that are bidding to help overhaul the way public services are delivered in Scotland are preparing to unveil prototypes at a presentation event in the Scottish capital next week.

CivTech, which is part of the Scottish Government, links firms who reckon they have the solutions to problems faced by public sector bodies such as councils, police and the NHS.

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Open challenges are set, to which any organisation, team or individual can respond.

Shortlisted proposals go into an exploration stage and are further developed.

The best go through to the accelerator - four months of working with challenge sponsors, citizens, and the CivTech team through a workshop system - to create the “best possible solution and a business capable of taking that solution to the world”.

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Alexander Holt, who heads CivTech, said: “We set out to see how we could radically change how we procured designed and delivered public services.

“We are absolutely achieving that. Contracts are being won, jobs created and investment is being secured.”

Read more: Agenda: Scotland's public sector procurement model is unfair to small and medium enterprises

One challenge from the NHS National Services Scotland seeking to make the NHS waiting time system more efficient and effective has been met by Cohesion, a young technology company based in Glasgow offering digital health solutions in healthcare and life sciences.

Stirling Council and the NHS are pushing to open a wider mental health conversation to help young people with problems affecting relationships and work or study.

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Edinburgh-based Voxsio’s conversational search tool uses artificial intelligence to help people get personalised answers to complex questions.

The firm said it “turns each search into a conversation that delivers personalised results by understanding the question and the individual’s context, then connecting them the right answer, just like a librarian does”.

Scottish Anti-Illicit Trade Group, represented by former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill who is chair of the group, wants tech to help stop illicit trading and Get Market Fit entrepreneur and founder Vicky Brock has come up with an innovation that will be outlined at the CivTech Demo Day at the EICC on Wednesday February 6.