Future Gazing: What Tech will the Government of 2030 Use? (Part 2)

You can view the first part of the interview here. 

What is the challenge related to adoption (why aren't all governments using the tech now?)

Local government services often require difficult judgements even in routine processes – for example, the provision of benefits - and dealing with complex cases requires time and skill. There can be a conflict, however, as council employees currently spend a lot of time on the mundane elements of the process, giving them less time for considering the evidence and thinking through those judgements that are not routine.

The outlook is already changing, however, with the emergence of Robotic Processing Automation (RPA). RPA provides a new, more efficient approach to dealing with those routine tasks. There is already the potential to free up valuable staff time from the mundane, enabling them to focus on the complex decisions and interactions that really need the human touch.

RPA robot processes can also consistently automate the implementation of decisions based on council rules, just leaving the subjective to interpretation by the council officers. By 2030, RPA will be commonplace in every area of processing, whether in the public or private sector.

The technological implementation of rules within citizen facing web forms has been available for some time. However, government has been slow to adopt this relatively straightforward technology, which is used extensively in the private sector. The implementation of rules enables a ‘form’ to give a definitive ‘yes or no’ to a service request, based on the council rules and the data the citizen input, with non-conclusive cases being deferred to a council officer for investigation and decision. This has advantages around both citizen experience and time saving for the citizen and council. However, council culture, and the willingness to ‘let go’ of decisions to technology has meant adoption has been low.

Councils may have been slow to adopt some of the newer technologies prevalent today. But, speaking with those working in government, I see this changing. It is changing as a result of pressure and expectation from citizens, pressure and expectation from an efficiency or cost-saving point of view, and pressure and expectation from officers themselves, who now want to provide an ‘Amazon-like’ experience for their citizens. By 2030, all of the above technologies I mention will be mature. Some may survive, some will evolve.

But the key will be what the generation born since 2000 will expect from government tech in 2030. And, who knows what that will be?

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