The provision of public services is at a crossroads, and it’s clear that changes will need to be made in the near future to maintain a high standard of delivery. A combination of an increasing population, a shrinking workforce and rising complexity in services the public expect are all making it harder than ever to meet demands from taxpayers and government departments alike. At a more technological level, public service providers are having to deal with larger volumes of highly sensitive data (both on staff and customers). And while technology is increasingly the answer to many of these issues, slow adoption of digital services by some sections of the population is making progress difficult.

The root cause: adapting to changing demand and digital adoption

Many of the changes within wider society are having a major impact on public service provision. For starters, an ageing population and the way that COVID-19 has changed people’s mindset about work has led to a further increase in an already difficult skills shortage. Vacancies for skilled work are growing and finding suitable candidates to fill them and maintain service delivery is proving especially challenging. Then there are the changes in the nature of the services that the public requires. The UK population is increasing, getting older on average, and is having to contend with significant cost of living pressures. This means they are looking for more help, and different kinds of help, from public services across health and social care, transport, energy, food, and a host of other areas.

Introducing Enterprise Service Management (ESM)

Solving these challenges means either reducing demand on service providers, improving the efficiency of delivery, or both. Digital automation represents the best technological option for achieving both these goals, as it can help cut operational costs, increase speed and efficiency of service delivery, and keep sensitive data secure. For service providers, the most suitable application of digital automation is Enterprise Service Management. ESM blends human and automated processes to streamline and reorganise them in the most efficient way possible, using established IT service management principles to explore automation of time-consuming tasks, and self-service functions to relieve the burden on staff. For example, requests for waste services such as refuse pick-ups could be automatically matched to waste crew availability, automating the entire booking process and giving the user an instant booking confirmation.

ESM for public service providers

A correctly designed and deployed ESM solution can deliver benefits for public service providers on several fronts. They will be able to:

  • Improve service delivery with automated workflows: Ensure your citizens get the service they deserve with a flexible service management platform featuring an easy-to-use self-service portal, automated workflows, and improved response times. Proper service management is becoming increasingly important as workflows become more complex. Some councils have over 1,000 frontline services, for essential matters like social services, children, leisure, museums, and parks that need special care and attention
  • Deliver value to citizens with one user-friendly service platform: Councils have countless front-line services that require a workflow. But, when different departments have disparate software applications, there is often a problem with interoperability. As workflows are becoming more complex, councils are having to join the dots manually, which wastes time and resources
  • Empower your citizens: Citizens can submit and track service requests and interact with the council from their computers and mobile devices. Plus, they won’t have the hassle of having to work out what department they need for their service request; the platform will automatically do this for them
  • Boost efficiency and make the best of your resources: Improve efficiency through automated workflows and get more done with less room for error. With the ESM platform in place, councils can efficiently automate and streamline service workflows securely across multiple departments, other councils, schools, and external suppliers, resulting in a true service delivery transformation. Let automated workflows do some of the work for you so that your employees can focus on the things that really matter to your citizens
  • Get exceptional transparency, insights, and reporting: Useful insights, data, and real-time reporting make it easy to track and analyse services delivered and adapt them where necessary. You can report on incoming requests, response times, and more, to improve resource allocation, planning, and citizen satisfaction
  • Make informed decisions about services you provide: Data analytics help to determine which services are performing and which aren’t. ESM provides you with the information you need to determine whether to push back or support different communities
  • Quickly adapt to your citizens’ needs: In a changing community, service requirements are always shifting. With no or low code solutions, councils can leverage a dynamic platform and service catalogue, letting them implement new services as and when citizens require them.

Prime use cases for digital automation

The range of use cases for ESM in the public service provider sphere is enormous, and varies depending on the type of service being provided. Here are five typical examples of what’s possible:

  • Information technology: support for equipment and systems providing the IT services that protect your sensitive data and ensure compliance
  • Finance and business services: easy management and distribution of financial requests, and efficient processing of HR queries and workflows
  • Health and Safety services: quick reporting and responses to incidents such as fire, damage, crime, and other security-related issues
  • Decongest service mailrooms: automating mailrooms means that very high levels of communications can be sorted and distributed quickly
  • Handle citizen enquiries: with so many users accessing public services every day, the amount of enquiries and complaints can be overwhelming. Automation can handle basic queries, verify information and forward it to corresponding departments

In summary

At a time when public service providers face so many challenges, it’s vital to leave no stone unturned in finding cost savings, efficiencies, and ways to relieve the burden on shrinking, stressed workforces. ESM represents the ideal way to achieve that, but needs careful planning so that it can be deployed in the right way. A third-party expert is best-placed to advise on where automation can make the biggest difference, and help staff, providers and citizens alike. SCC’s years of experience and expertise in automating public service processes makes us your ideal partner for exploring the potential of ESM. Take a look at what we do and how we do it here.

Why not ask one of our Digital Automation Specialists a question

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