Innovation and changeDigital TransformationInnovations in public sector service – what can you learn?

Innovations in public sector service – what can you learn?

Find out about the key government case studies presented at this year’s IT Support Show

Every year, public sector organisations are challenged to provide more services, more effectively to citizens. The demand for services is not decreasing – in fact, with an aging population and austerity measures still in effect, budgets for service delivery have not gone up in years. For example, local government budgets have fallen in real terms by 26 per cent since 2010, according to the Institute For Fiscal Studies.

For IT teams at public sector bodies, doing more with less has been a mantra for so long, it has become a cliché. Instead, these teams have had to look at new ways to approach problems and deliver services.

At this year’s Service and IT Support Show in London, leaders from councils, NHS Trusts and other public sector organisations presented on their new strategies and how they are developing their own approaches to not just cope with tight budgets, but redesign their approaches to service and citizen support. In looking at new ways of working, these organisations can provide better service and help their communities.

Bringing service back

The first example at the show was Somerset County Council, where the discussion focused on the team moving back to an internal service team from a shared service. Bringing this service back involved setting up a new team, working through processes and rethinking what the role of IT service management was for the Council.

Andy Kettlety of Somerset County Council went into the role of cloud service, automation and customer mobile engagement in his session, as well as how to use enforced changes as a spur to be more innovative.

Automation

The next discussion covered how automation could be implemented effectively to support more service delivery.

Automation around service delivery involves combining multiple processes and steps into a single whole, according to Brendan Lavelle of Liverpool City Council; by bringing together a service request catalogue with processes for managing approvals and assignment of tasks, the Council has been able to improve how it handles these requests from end-users.

The result has been a 30 per cent reduction in call volumes, allowing the team to support more issues without headcount increases, along with more potential for further automation of tasks across the Council’s IT team in the future.

People and processes

Another example – this time from central government – was led by Parliamentary Digital Services.

When it comes to hardware assets, managing IT service can be very difficult. For the PDS team, this is made more challenging as each MP can have multiple staff that work on their behalf, and they can be highly mobile depending on their work schedules as well. For PDS, this project involved looking at the people and processes that went around hardware as much as the technology involved.

By collaborating with suppliers and with MP teams, PDS was able to deliver all the necessary services in a critical transformation programme.

Lean and agile

Finally, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council presented on the role of Lean and Agile in redeveloping digital services. As part of the Council’s approach to service, introducing new ways of working involved thinking through some of the challenges that existed for the council and how new workflows could be created. As part of this, looking at new methods for prioritising service requests using techniques like Agile and Kanban led to more cultural change as well as faster service.

Alongside the new workflow deployments, Stockport implemented Freshworks to run its service desk and support faster ways of delivering customer service. Stockport’s work led to the Council winning the Business Transformation Award at the 2018 Local Government Chronicle Awards, as well as second place in the Digital Council of the Year category.

All these presenters shared their insights and experiences with moving to new ways of working, from shifting service desks back internally and through to using cloud-based services rather than traditional IT products. These experiences demonstrated that there is a wealth of passion, creativity and innovation taking place within public sector IT teams that should be celebrated.

About the author

This article was written by Simon Johnson, General Manager UKI, Freshworks.

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