30 Jun 2021

Virgin Media Business: Tech SMEs and the public sector: How will we promote collaboration to drive innovation?

Change hasn’t always come naturally in the public sector for a range of reasons. However, Covid-19 has forced organisations to find new ways of operating, setting up remote working overnight and meeting citizen demand online- almost breaking down some of the barriers that existed before.  

Private sector organisations, from SMEs through to global enterprises, have played a critical role in helping drive this digital transformation, especially across healthcare and justice.  

Through working in unison with public sector bodies, they have demonstrated the ability to introduce innovative thinking, accelerate digital agendas and drive positive outcomes for both staff and citizens. 

The last year has shown that collaboration between these organisations and the public sector is critical to organisations being able to adapt and meet pressures caused by the disruption of the pandemic.  

And these partnerships will be vital in seizing the £232 billion opportunity for our economy identified by our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr)

Seamless collaboration revolutionising healthcare  

The NHS has been under unprecedented pressure. Increased demand for frontline services, coupled with a need to drastically reduce in-person interaction wherever possible, underlined the need for instant, effective and secure digital communication.  The health service responded by rapidly accelerating digitalisation. And small businesses played a pivotal role in providing the tools and ingenuity required to tackle complex problems.  

In March 2020, Lancashire-based tech company, Hospify, became the first clinical messaging app to be available to NHS staff and patients. The service allows healthcare workers to communicate, share knowledge, and research cases, while adhering to strict GDPR and NHS guidelines.  

It has played a key role in supporting employee collaboration throughout the pandemic. And as we emerge from the pandemic, the app will continue to support vital communication between NHS staff, internally and with patients.  

 Introducing new ideas to justice  

Before the pandemic, justice was already setting out bold digital ambitions. Its Policing Vision 2025 set out a series of objectives relating to faster emergency response times and interoperability with other key stakeholders, such as the ambulance service.  

However, our research with iGov showed that only 13% of police forces believed their ICT infrastructure was fit for purpose to support their desire to adopt innovative digital solutions.  

Collaboration with tech SMEs has helped to overcome some of the barriers causing this.  

Business support service provider, Shared Services Connected (SSCL), has provided an intuitive, cloud-based solution designed specifically for policing.  

It has dramatically accelerated administrative processes. And this will be vital in helping the Ministry of Justice tackle case backlogs that have developed due to Covid-19.  

SSCL is an example of how SMEs can introduce new thinking within the public sector and help it tackle different challenges.  

And, through prioritising collaboration with private sector firms and the sharing of ideas, public sector organisations can set themselves up for a successful rebound post-pandemic.  

Driving future innovation through collaboration 

 As we go forward, the pressures that public sector organisations face won’t dissipate as the threat of new Covid variants continue and the economy remains fragile. 

But by working with forward-thinking private enterprises who are specialists in their fields, public sector bodies have found innovative ways to improve employee collaboration and enhance vital services in a hybrid working world. 

Collaboration and innovation will unlock exciting opportunities. This will mean that the public sector doesn’t just return to the old “normal” but continues to thrive in the new normal.  

This insight was written by Martin McFadyen, Head of Public Sector, Virgin Media Business.

Martin is known for helping the UK excel, by revolutionising the everyday and achieving extraordinary outcomes for their people, partners & customers through building connections that really matter. Read more...

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