Are you ready to innovate? Five ways to drive local government innovation without loss of service
Local authorities need technology
A poll of 432 councillors across England and Wales showed that most believed they would be relying more and more on technology to deliver services and deal with spending cuts.
- 72% expect technology to be used more to deliver council services.
- 82% believe their council is open to new ways of employing technology to deliver services.
“Industry analyst Gartner explains that smart public sector organisations will be those that harness the power of social, mobile, cloud and information to help facilitate innovation, improvements and savings.”
Technology is good for local authorities…
A survey of 178 local authority staff and 22 supplier employees found that on the whole local government respondents thought using digital technology would be good for their organisation.
- 90% agreed digital technology would help the organisation to deliver better services for less.
- 80% agreed that technologies would make the organisation more cost effective.
…and good for communities
Most local authority respondents also thought that people in the community would benefit.
- 84% agreed that technologies would make the customer journey better for their citizens.
But there are barriers
Public sector respondents said budget cuts would stop them from moving forward, but two of the main barriers to digital development were that:
- It was culturally uncomfortable for the organisation.
- Those pushing the agenda faced unwillingness to change or non-cooperation from colleagues.
Five ways of innovating without disrupting services
Make sure all your staff are involved and focus on what’s good for local people. Get staff to work together and with people in other organisations and involve them in creating solutions that will cut costs and enhance rather than disrupt services.
1. Set up networks
Before the Patchwork Project, local authority care workers spent between one and six hours a week trying to contact people at other agencies.
After the project, care workers could use an online resource of other agency professionals, share information and raise concerns about an individual, which meant they could spend more time with vulnerable clients.
2. Work together to streamline services
Buckinghamshire County Council joined forces with Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire County Councils on a OneTransport platform to gather data on traffic from on-vehicle and roadside sensors. Websites and apps allow residents to find out which roads to avoid because of road works or heavy traffic.
3. Put local people at the heart of what you do
Central Bedforshire Council trialled a tablet so that older people with little technical know-how living on their own could receive messages from their friends and family.
4. Reducing calls through online reporting
Allderdale Council’s online reporting system allows people to inform the council about fly- tipping in the area, helping the council to reduce the number of calls it receives.
5. Strategic planning to improve operations
“We are completely changing the model of delivery so that we have a constant online presence… the vision we have is for us to have an online presence so we are constantly recruiting, especially for our hard-to-fill roles like social workers.” Sutton HR staff on recruitment.
- Council innovation is about improving the lives of people in the communities.
- 80% of councillors surveyed agreed that technologies would make the organisation more cost effective.
- Local Government Innovation Task Force: “The challenge will be to build a system in which all local areas have greater capacity to improve living standards and to create a nation in which no community is held back.”
- Most councils are expected to rely on more technology to deliver services because of spending cuts.