Guest blog: from Richard Boddington at Thoughtonomy

One of the biggest challenges facing the Public Sector in the UK has always been the pace of change needed to both deliver improvements in services whilst also addressing the impact of increasing demand. The organisations they are, and how they have evolved over the decades, alongside the vast array of services they provide and the people they serve, all make it increasingly difficult to properly transform.

Organisations within the Public Sector have typically developed in business unit silos, and the companies that provide technology for them have then focused on the core silos they address. This is a fundamental issue, as the services to be delivered and the processes that affect them are not based solely within these silos. Indeed, from the citizens perspective it should not matter how their service is arranged or organised, only that is it timely, proportionate and effective.

However, there has for too long been an unspoken status quo between provider and organisation - each satisfying the others needs whilst preventing any wholesale shift. This has effectively limited new developments and innovation. The market has not been disrupted. These silos have been reinforced rather than removed.

In order to try and change, a lot of money has been spent on ‘Transformation’. A lot of well-meaning people and companies have advised on how to reshape or implement new technologies to address the inherent inefficiencies; and whilst this approach is logically correct, it ultimately fails in delivery. Why? Well, because of all the issues that need addressing in the first place. There is little capacity to implement change, and the change suggested is limited in both scope and innovation.

For too long the Public Sector has sought to release resource through restructure and reorganisation. The ultimate purpose being, to enable more to be done with the same, or less. However, without implementing the appropriate tools, any capacity released is soon enough consumed again without really making a long term difference.

But this is changing.

Transformation within the Public Sector is being made by a small, but growing number of organisations who are looking beyond the traditional approaches and looking to harness new technologies, new ideas and disruptive approaches. Not only does this lead to service improvement, but as a key enabler, releasing people's time and allowing actual transformation to be embedded.

The 4th industrial revolution is here already and being consumed at an ever increasing rate by the private sector. It is only right that the public sector is starting to catch up.

People are the lifeblood of the Public Sector, but they are also the obstacle within it. Namely people doing what people aren’t very good at. Let tech do the heavy lifting on repetitive manual tasks and enable people to do what people do best… namely, to care.

The future is chat bots managing low level queries freeing up front line resources to focus on vulnerable people, it is software automation moving data around back office systems and thereby releasing medical secretaries from admin to talking to patients and doctors. The advancement of analytics allows proper forecasting and predictive management, whilst the IoT and wearables advances allows people to be kept safe in their own home for longer. New technology can make a real difference in not only reducing waste and inefficiency, but also in improving productivity and transforming the way the Public Sector services all of its citizens in a proportionate (not one-size fits all) manner.

 

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