28 Jun 2021

Valtech: Making a Public Connection

What will public service look like in the future?  

Will we all be engaging with smart and artificial intelligence as a means to telepathically transact with public services? Maybe someday, and clearly technology and data will play a huge part in any emerging future transformation, whether that be extracting the data, making sense of the data, or processing the data. 

If we have learnt anything from public services within the past 12 months, it’s been to base key decisions on data, to informing strategy. The obvious example being the control to the COVID crisis where data was used daily to inform direction of travel. However, arguably more learning has come from connecting public and private organisations to work together in meeting the needs of citizens. This has been exemplified by the vaccination response, bringing together centres of excellence like Oxford University with the manufacturing capabilities from Astra Zeneca to react to an emergency UK public health threat. 

So, when I think about the future of public services and certainly within the next 5-10 years I think about much more connected experiences, whether that be: 

  • Departments within government working and sharing much closer 

  • Local and central government working in step to ensure citizens receive the very best services possible 

  • Or public and private sector organisations facing up together to challenges of the future 

Is the future already here?  

When we talk about connected experiences, we tend to focus on the technology supporting the experience, like with connected and autonomous vehicles. It’s true that with the proliferation of devices estimated over 20 Billion interconnected devices in existence today, and the monumental shift to the stay-at-home economy its clear why. 

Private sector organisation like Amazon are taking advantage of this and making giant steps forward to support connected experiences for consumers. The private sector business model is generally to acquire technology and data integrate into the platform. Examples being the acquisition of Whole Sale Food to Amazon, acquiring not only the physical stores but the data and purchasing habits of the customers. 

The public sector approach is more focussed on collaboration and we already have seen examples of this. Valtech supported Department for Transport (DfT) with the delivery of a transformed Blue Badge service. By engaging and collaborating with the 207 local authorities DfT were able to deliver a service that enabled digital uptake to increase from 37% to 79% in less than 2 years. We are also seeing DfT working with DWP to share eligibility data, so applicants only need to explain the qualifying condition to the government once.  

These are exemplars of connected experiences within government to remove friction within the customer journey and connecting people with government.  

The future?  

With the degree of contact and amount of data the government have at its disposal, imagine what would be possible to deliver connected experiences to its citizens. Government also has the responsibility to intervene and support the private sector to stimulate innovation. Take the example of the Government’s Future of Transport programme which is looking at the way technology and new business models are changing mobility. Central government is working together with local partners to create services and establish new markets to support emissions targets and the shift to a sharing economy where emphasis is on commodity based transport rather than ownership. This will in part be realised by the trials currently being overseen currently by DFT and supported by Valtech to establish a new vehicle type of electric scooters; the aim is to understand the potential policy and regulatory changes needed through collecting, and interpreting data from the rental operators providing services in more than 30 areas across the country. 

This blog piece was written by Tony White Delivery Manager, Valtech. Tony has over 10 years’ experience as a consultant delivering services for government departments such as DWP, MOJ, DfT, and NHS, helping digital transformation that really support users, enabling business transformation and realise operational saving. Most recently He worked with NHS Business Services Authority to deliver a number of services for NHS employees to enable self-service and by association realise operational efficiencies. Learn more about here.

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