Talking 5 with Local Public Services Member Xantura
Each month, techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services Georgina Maratheftis interviews a member active in the local government space about their vision for the future of local public services and where digital can make a real difference to people and society. This month we talk to Wajid Shafiq, CEO at Xantura and member of techUK's Local Public Services Committee about his vision of the future of data and insight in the public sector.
Welcome Wajid. Firstly, tell me more about you, your career and how you got to this position today?
Well, I’ve been working in the technology and analytics space for over 30 years, starting out in the private sector with big 4 consulting firms and systems integrators and for the last 15 years pretty much exclusively in the public sector.
Outside of my career I’ve always been very interested in social policy and especially the drivers of social inequality. The first time this overlapped with my working life was around the turn of the millennium when the Supporting Families programme was introduced. I was working as a consultant with EY and was tasked with thinking about how emerging technologies could support the programme.
That spark and serious case reviews like Victoria Climbie essentially established the motivation for my career ever since culminating in setting up Xantura in 2008.
What is the real prize for local government when it comes to digital?
In summary, I think this would be a collaborative system, working across services and organisational silos that supports individuals and families before issues escalate and building on the resilience of communities and individuals themselves.
That really frames the work we have been doing with local authorities to try and improve outcomes for vulnerable people for over 10 years.
In our experience, siloed working is a key barrier that prevents many councils from truly optimising the ways in which they help their residents, and too often contributes to catastrophic outcomes and serious case reviews.
Although there are a range of challenges to breaking down these silos, the most common, thorny issues tend to be linked, in one way or another to: Information Governance; the technical complexity of matching disparate data sets with no common identifier; embedded siloed culture, concerns around data quality and difficulty in aligning a complex programme of work with business needs and real world impact.
Although some of these issues are technical, the core issues are really about how to embed data and analytics into service transformation methodologies so that learning and on-going evolution are built into the fabric of how organisations operate.
That is the reason we are now spending as much time developing the OneView transformation methodology as we are on refining the OneView data and analytics platform.
What is your vision for the future of local public services?
Fundamentally, I think we need to build a public sector that is much more dynamic and capable of implementing change at greater pace and at scale. Ideally this change should be underpinned by transferring power to citizens and should result in systems that are more joined-up and responsive to their needs.
Obviously, we believe this vision needs to be underpinned by increasingly sophisticated data analytics to support evidence led testing and refinement of strategy, policy and critically operational activity.
Given that most challenges facing local public services are common across geographies there is a significant opportunity to accelerate cycles of change through improved collaboration. That goes beyond shared evaluation reports, into the sharing of analytical assets and replicable operational models and activity.
Our approach to this is the development of a range of common “value cases” that are underpinned by; predictive models, analytical assets, business cases and successful intervention approaches & models.
Critically, these value cases and supporting assets are ‘transportable’ across clients and are being evolved in partnership with clients in our OneView collaboration environment.
This collaboration approach is embedding ‘continuous learning cycles’ into transformation programmes, accelerating the realisation of business benefits, and helping clients put rocket boosters on their data maturity programmes.
If you are a techUK member and would like to feature in the Talking 5 series please get in touch with Georgina Maratheftis.
Georgina is techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services
Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.
Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.
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