What tech do you have in mind for 2030?
There is no doubt that the technology we have in mind for the government of 2030 to use will be something very different from what we know today. Whether or not you believe that the government lags behind the private sector now in terms of digital transformation, by 2030 a whole new bunch of digital natives or millennials will be in charge - and they are unlikely to be satisfied with public services based on current technology, which by then will be a couple of decades old.
What is it going to look like in 2030?
Feel free to be imaginative and speculative. It is likely that services will be grouped around the citizen, in healthcare there will be place-based care, and local hyper-directories which will be accessed by citizens through dedicated Apps. Data analytics will enable the better targeting of services in these directories and will be used to highlight areas of poor or non-existent provision. Predictive forecasting and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be useful in forecasting and enabling future service provision.
This will mean greater emphasis on preventive services, in an endeavour to stem the increasing demand for help before the support need becomes critical or acute, and therefore expensive. This will reduce the demand on scarce resources and deliver the help required more cost-effectively.
Wherever government holds data about someone, the citizen will expect the public sector to know who they are and to use that data to deliver a great end-to-end service experience, personalised with instant answers to their questions, and the ability to track progress against service level requests.
Voice will play an increasing part in citizens’ interaction with councils, not as a part of costly call centres which have limited operating times, but in the form of voice responses from robots, using AI, relaying information to citizens, in whatever language or medium they choose. Chatbots will grow alongside social media to become a primary source of question and answer process interaction between a citizen and a council. This will not be limited to typing questions and receiving simple text back. With the right infrastructure, your interaction with the bot can be verbal.
Smart chatbots will learn, deferring unknown questions to a council officer, but then adding the given answer to their increasing knowledge base. Additionally, smart bots will be able to ‘read’ data from back office silo databases, and ‘tell’ the citizen what he or she needs to know.
Increasingly, councils will become ‘commissioning agents’ as opposed to having to directly employ staff to deliver services. And, they will be responsible for coordinating and promoting services provided by others, such as charities and community based providers. As a consequence, the focus will be on citizen outcomes, rather than services, with providers being paid on results.
Data sharing using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) between different public-sector bodies will make the citizen’s digital experience so compelling that it will become the service route of choice. By 2030, it will almost definitely have been assisted by new regulations around software suppliers making APIs freely available to use.
Why is that so good. Ideally, with evidence. e.g, how much could be saved? Is anyone using the tech today?
Examples of data sharing in the public sector exist already. The DVLA shares its data to enable those responsible for senior railcard applications to see the evidence that the DVLA already has, thus eliminating the expense and inconvenience of citizens and third parties handling the same evidence twice or more. However, by 2030, I expect this sharing of data to be across multi-tier government. For example, the DVLA may be interacting with a taxi licensing process in a local authority. This can be achieved with a smart API, without the need to pass data both ways. For example, a local authority could push data to the DVLA such as ‘surname’, ‘driving licence number’ and ‘postcode’, and just receive a ‘true’ or ‘false’ response, enabling the application to progress. This interaction could be in real-time across secure pathways, saving many lapsed processing days, and saving council officers and citizens real time to process evidence.
Check in on Wednesday for the final part of the interview!
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