2020 was a tough year for most but it did provide a moment for change in Local Government and a renewed focus on how services are delivered in the Digital Age.

With Efficiency & Cost Reduction being joined by “Looking After the Vulnerable” as key priorities for Local Authorities, exploiting digital technologies has been key to establish new ways of working for “the New Normal”.

We caught up with Keith Tinson, Customer Experience Director at Oracle and a familiar face at many of the #channelshiftcamps, LocalGovCamps and Public Sector Digital Transformation Forum events to see what changes he’d seen within Local Government clients.

Keith Tinson

PSDTF: Afternoon Keith, as you know we’ve done a fair few events and online content activities around the impact of the pandemic on Local Gov and how it has sped up service & digital transformation but what have you been seen going on in your Local Authority clients.

KT: We’ve seen a lot of focus on Local Authority workforces, especially those out and about delivering services such as Building Services, Refuse Collection or Parking Control. To a certain extent, these have been the only physical touchpoint LAs have had with their citizens.

PSDTF: what’s driven that focus on the remote workforce?

KT: there is an increased demand to resolve any issues at the first point of content as people need to be social distancing and having as little physical contact with others. We have seen this in the area of Building Repairs where mobile devices are now Augmented/Merged Reality-enabled which means that jobs that used to require a technician or engineer are being solved remotely.

PSDTF: Are Local Authorities able to prioritise Delivering Efficiency during the pandemic? or is it no longer an option at the moment?

KT: With workers in the field and I guess, this could also apply to a lot of office-based workers who are now using their homes as the office, it’s all about having the right tools with the rights assets in the right place along with prioritising tasks with limited resources. Not forgetting that emergency jobs could come from leftfield and have some capacity/plan in place to deal with these.

We’ve seen efficiencies be delivered in field service where end-to-end processes have been optimised in the following areas:

20%-35% saving in travel time
40%-60% saving in overtime
20%-75% saving in back office staff time

PSDTF: So there is still the opportunity to deliver efficiency savings during these very challenging times. Is there any impact on the Customer/Citizen Experience?

KT: I’m glad you asked that. With more customers working at home, our research has shown that what the customer wants is better communication as opposed to unfulfilled promises. Communication during the booking progress can be sent via email or SMS directly and customers can see visually on a map where a field resource is on route, reducing avoidable contact and setting an acceptable level of expectation between the citizen at the council.

Whilst COVID-19 and cuts in Public Sector budgets can be seen as a driver, running an effective mobile workforce should not be put off any longer.

PSDTF: thanks for that Keith. Interesting to see where remote working/workforces can be digitally supported and in turn, how these benefit both Council and Citizen.