How to keep up citizen services for the influx of city dwellers to regional councils

With working from home not likely to go away anytime soon, regional councils are straining to keep up with the increasing demand for services using the same constrained budgets and resources. There are simple ways some local governments are winning with low-code and intelligent automation to free up time and funds, and improve the citizen experience.


As citizens, the shift to remote working has opened up the possibility to live where suits our lifestyles best, and we took that proffered opportunity up in droves. But what about how governments are affected by this wave of new residents? And how can they cope without increased budgets?

According to the 2022 Regional Movers Index[1], net migration to regional areas is almost double the pre-pandemic average. This while available funding is at a significant low, with some councils even resorting to crowdfunding[2] to see infrastructure projects through. As the pressure to provide services and infrastructure grows, it is important to consider how advances in technology can help provide seamless citizen experiences while improving operational efficiency.

Moving to the future – the real question is where and how to make efficiency gains quickly. Councils around the globe are winning back time, resources, citizen trust, and staff satisfaction through low-code and intelligent automation projects in the following areas:

 

Backoffice data entry

Both digital and paper forms data need to be transferred and stored in the relevant backoffice systems. Whilst the capture might be self-service and digital for citizens, this transfer is often manual and time-consuming for council staff. Compound this with an exponential increase in citizens, and you will have a backlog to challenge even the most efficient of teams. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Intelligent Automation (IA) can be implemented to extract text and data, and (pre)populate forms and systems, eliminating much of the manual burden and potential errors. The gains are profound: a university study in the US estimated that there was over “3,000 hours average in labor savings per bot” for local governments that have adopted RPA[3].

Manual task automation

Further to backoffice task optimisation, a myriad other manual tasks and processes can be significantly reduced to free local government staff to focus on high value and human communication and services. Take an Australian State Government, for example: permit and payment processes that ordinarily took over 30 days to complete, now are processed instantaneously. At 86,400 seconds per day, that’s a mind-boggling 2,592,000 times faster.

Requests for information from citizens or relating to tenders is another absorbing activity that can be optimised through automation, as well as case workloads in social care agencies[4], automatically directing to the appropriate person or department.

Integration across siloed systems and departments

Most government departments have been technically or procedurally enabled within the silo of the department, impeding holistic data analysis and integrated decision-making across departments. Low-code automation is democratising technology, providing non-technical government staff with the ability to quickly integrate and produce a necessary service, without the need for protracted development or technology overhauls. The result? A seamless digital experience for both government staff and citizen end users, balanced by human interaction from the time won back for those without digital enablement or access.

These areas are not exhaustive: other government departments are experiencing efficiency gains in conservation records management, travel administration, email file conversion and indexing, process improvement, personnel security, payroll tax reconciliation, enterprise service desk and benefits claims processing, and across proposal management, sales orders, invoices, and process mining.

Now begs the question: where is the high value, low effort starting point for your department or agency to manage increased requirements? We have been optimising and automating with government for over ten years and are able to quickly assess where you can get the most gain through adopting low-code and intelligent automation.  

[1] Regional Movers Index (regionalaustralia.org.au)

[2] Shire of Dundas explores online crowdfunding in bid to raise $4.4m for Eucla airstrip upgrade - ABC News

 [3] https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-robotic-process-and-intelligent-automation-are-altering-government-performance/#footnote-11

 [4] Government Trends 2022 (deloitte.com.au)

 

 

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These areas are not exhaustive: other government departments are experiencing efficiency gains in conservation records management, travel administration, email file conversion and indexing, process improvement, personnel security, payroll tax reconciliation, enterprise service desk and benefits claims processing, and across proposal management, sales orders, invoices, and process mining.

Now begs the question: where is the high value, low effort starting point for your department or agency to manage increased requirements? We have been optimising and automating with government for over ten years and are able to quickly assess where you can get the most gain through adopting low-code and intelligent automation.  

[1] Regional Movers Index (regionalaustralia.org.au)

[2] Shire of Dundas explores online crowdfunding in bid to raise $4.4m for Eucla airstrip upgrade - ABC News

 [3] https://www.brookings.edu/research/how-robotic-process-and-intelligent-automation-are-altering-government-performance/#footnote-11

 [4] Government Trends 2022 (deloitte.com.au)

 

 

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