Enhancing Public Services Through Strategic Change and Partnerships

Government

The UK Government is the elected governing body of the UK. It enacts its powers through government departments, bodies, agencies, and Local Governments.

Local Governments provide services to residents in their jurisdiction through county councils, district councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan districts, and London boroughs.

To provide this service in an ever-changing country, local governments need to innovate in response to budget issues and consumer expectations. The Local Government Association (LGA) warned of an ‘existential crisis’ across the entire sector in November 2022, resulting from the impacts of inflation, increasing costs of services and wage bills. Several councils have been turned over to central government control due to financial failures.

Responsiv work with various Government agencies and bodies, including the IPO, Oldham Council, Environment Agency, and more.

Video: Transforming Council Services with Intelligent Automation

Video: Enterprise Automation for Central Government

skills shortage

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Finding the specific skills required to keep your business running is important but is proving to be a global challenge. Korn Ferry estimate that by 2030 we should expect a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people.

Shortages of skills in the UK has impacted the ability of local authorities to deliver their services, making it difficult to uphold their key pledges.

9 in 10 councils have experienced staff recruitment and retention difficulties. Authorities are attempting to combat this by offering flexible working setups and accessible training opportunities.

Budget cuts and constraints amongst local authorities has resulted in the cutting of ‘less crucial’ services, including libraries and busses. A third of libraries across the country have closed, and 14% of the bus network has disappeared. This is generally seen in poorer areas of the country, and will have a large impact on education and the social capabilities of residents, especially in the older and younger demographics who rely on public transport to be mobile.

Regeneration projects are desirable, but are unfulfilled due to cost and lack of project management skills within many local authorities.

Solving a skills shortage doesn’t have to be complicated and drawn out. There are a number of ways government and local authorities can mitigate this challenge.

Automating data heavy and repetitive tasks means existing skills can go a lot further; creating staff capacity for activities that need to be done but has been left waiting for new resources. Automation consolodates knowledge and ensures it is not lost when staff leave or move on.

Training and Education is a great opportunity to upskill your existing workforce. This does not mean you load them with double the responsibility, rather prepares them for new technologies and working practices in line with the changing landscapes.

The downside of this is the associated cost and time it takes to complete. If skills are needed ASAP then you cannot wait around for staff to be up to speed. 

Outsourcing skills is perhaps the quickest way of mitigating the skills shortage. Finding a reputable partner with the desired skills means you do not have to find them as permanent in-house staff; removing the strain on budgets and recruitment.

These skills can vary from business analysts and project managers to IT and other specialist roles.

Outsourcing may also include procuring a managed service. This is mainly when looking at IT solutions. Managed Services mean your chosen vendor deploys, hosts, and manages the software and accompanying applications within the agreement (these are typically cloud-based).

Managed services take the responsibility out of house and ensures your software applications run as optimally as possible with patches and other support being included. Your users see the benefit without the worry of having the skills to fix bugs and make it run.

Responsiv offer managed services for our cloud platforms.

This means we deploy, host, manage and support your environments on behalf of your organisation. Your end users get the benefit of software applications and processes on cloud, without worrying about having to support the skills in house.

Responsiv Assist is our remote technical support offering. Credit-based, it can be utilised only when needed for software support – updrades and patches, training sessions, troubleshooting, license and certification monitoring, document reviewing, etc.

Get in touch to find out how we can best help your organisation tackle the skills shortage.

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    Regulation

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    The 2022 Health and Care Act introduced new legislative measures that aim to make it easier for health and care organisations to deliver joined-up care for people who rely on multiple different services, building on earlier recommendations by NHS England and NHS Improvement. Among a wide range of other measures, the Act also includes targeted changes to public health, social care and the oversight of quality and safety.

    The framework aims to facilitate greater collaboration between the NHS (internal and externally), local authorities, and other partners through integrated care systems.

    This will improve the way information is shared between necessary partners and services. To accomplish this, secure and highly available business integration will be required. Automating processes, workflows, and data collection will ensure accuarcy and timeliness to improve turn-around of service and information sharing.

    Environment Act 2022 is a new framework for environmental protection since leaving the EU. Laws will regulate nature protection, water quality, and clean air. The Environment Act allows the UK to enshrine some environmental protection into law and offers new powers to set new binding targets, including for air quality, water, biodiversity, and waste reduction.

    The act includes provisions to incentivise more sustainable use of resources by requiring producers to pay the full net cost of managing products and materials at end-of-life.

    Deposit return schemes are under consideration to improve the rate of recycling and change consumer behaviour, but requires further analysis.

    Creating an integrated care system that spans the NHS, local authorities, and other partners is a large and expensive challenge.

    Understanding what systems, regulations (data protection, priviledged users), and processes are in place will be difficult; having access to the skills to find these things out will also be a challenge.

    Integration and Automation utilised together to allow transfer of data between services will require expert skills and knowledge to accomplish without compromise. Understanding the intricacies of secure IT architecture to protect this data as it is shared requires years of experience.

    Regulations are made to be your priority. These non-organic priorities distract from those organic business priorities that directly impact business operations. 

    Understanding how to respond and manage this shift in priorities needs to be considered as part of financial service firms’ strategies so there are no surprises when new regulations crop up. Strategic planning also means effort and resources can be scheduled to deliver both regulatory and standard business projects so nothing is left undone.

    Deadlines are non-negotiable, and if they aren’t met can mean large fines. Knowing you can deliver your regulatory projects on time and to budget is important in strategic planning. Are you starting the project too late? Is the team equipped to successfully complete the project?

    Responsiv has experience working with organisations to understand the ins and outs of their business processes and systems. This is our bread and butter.

    With access and expertise in industry leading technologies and products that allow us to securely and reliably integrate and automate businesses, we can provide an integrated care solution that can be securely accessed by the necessary partners and users.

    The Responsiv Jigsaw method is an example of how organisations can implement their own solutions in phases to connect and utilise processes across different businesses.

    Each part of the ‘puzzle’ is built independently and conforms to an agreed “interface framework”. Identical software environments assist compatibility and coordination is based on framework not technology or design details.

    Release schedules and success are independent for each piece of the puzzle. Each part can connect with the larger puzzle and the “interface framework” allows business process and integration automations to be shared. The common platform delivers secure federation and data sharing.

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      Business Cost

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      Businesses are constantly trying to do more with less.

      This has been a constant task for the government, and is seen acutely within local government; analysis indicates a funding gap of £7.3bn-9bn by 2025-26.

      The negative trend of funding and the increase in operational costs such as energy, wages, and inflation on non-wage expenses will ultimately mean budgets are crunched, and risks the continued provision of lesser used public services.

      Business cost crises will catalyse the need to optimise business operations and efficiency to ensure local government can provide the best service possible to residents despite the budget cuts and constraints.

      Understanding where costs are being spent is the first step in managing them. Do you have resources that aren’t being utilised – think disparate systems sat in the abyss that are never touched. What can be sacrificed without disrupting services?

      This extends to looking at IT systems in need of updating. Are you paying through the roof for extended support for legacy systems that aren’t doing much or can be updated to be more efficient and cost-effective.

      Finding a solution that is scalable and cost effective can be hard when you are first looking at technical solutions, but it is important to keep in mind that what is ‘cheap’ now, may cost you more in the future. Read more about how you can outgrow your IT solution, here.

      Improving efficiency will ultimately improve the spending to outcome ratio. This is because organisations find ways to get more for less, e.g., optimising processes to remove bottlenecks and unnecessary steps, or automating repetitive and erroneous tasks that require constant rework.

      Reducing the amount of time staff have to spend on one activity will free them up to complete more work. Automating access to accurate data will decrease the time to make a decision or respond to customers, again allowing more to be done in less time.

      Responsiv work with organisations to understand their environments and processes. We provide managed services so our customers do not have to worry about building, deploying, hosting or managing their solution; all security and upgrade patches are covered by us as part of the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

      This helps reduce business costs as organisations do not have to hire or train in-house skills to manage and host their software, projects are kept to time and budget by using outsourced project managers who work alongside the in-house teams and stakeholders, and licence agreements can be negotiated to get the best possible cost.

      The Responsiv Cloud Automation Platform (RCAP) is available as a managed service, click here for more information on the Total Cost of Ownership for RCAP.

      Responsiv has the knowledge and expertise required to upgrade or move your workloads to new systems. This ensures you are not running out of date or unsupported software that risks your organisation and drains your budget on extended support or disaster recovery.

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        Customer Self-Service

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        Making services accessible to residents is a critical change that all areas of government need to improve.

        Thinking about demographics is important to understand how different people best interact with service providers; whether this is accessing in-person, on the phone, or online, these processes need to be made more efficient to give residents the best service possible.

        Not only will this improve resident satisfaction, but improve business efficiency of the councils, saving time and money.

        Understanding the process is the first step to providing customer self-service facilities. Who are the stakeholders and key players? What departments need to be informed? Can this all be done through one platform?

        Process Discovery needs to be done before any work is done to automate. This helps to ensure the process and tasks you automate are done properly, in line with the business requirements.

        Process discovery workshops with key stakeholders allow the opportunity to optimise and update existing processes and share staff knowledge of systems and activities. This is also the chance to understand customer needs and work them into the process where possible – e.g., is there a requirement for paper forms or call centres as well as the online self-service capability?

        Automation and Integration of any online self-service portals is a great way to ensure any data provided by customers/residents is saved in the correct system of record (SoR) and is not duplicated across an organisation.

        This reduces the chances of incorrect or different data being saved in different systems that is then used by staff to contact or manage a customer (we all know the pain of an incorrect phone number or a letter wrong in your name).

        Responsiv Consulting help organisations at all stages of their project, with resources available in business analysis and project management as well as our infrastructure, automation, and integration technical skills. This means we have the ability to see a project from conception to deployment and support.

        For example, Responsiv provide process discovery workshops to uncover and record your business process requirements, the technical skills to build automated processes, integrating relevant systems, and support the software and process post-deployment.

        See the video: Transforming Council Services with Intelligent Automation above for information on how Responsiv helped this council automate their bin collection process.

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