Deep funding cuts over recent years have forced local government to find efficiency savings in order to continue delivering services. With no end to austerity in sight, the latest analysis indicates that English councils will face a funding black hole of almost £8 billion by 2025. Unless councils find innovative ways to secure their financial stability, many local services could be at risk of collapse.
Delivering services digitally is one route many councils are exploring. As well as helping to lower expenditure by reducing avoidable contact, it's a way to engage better with citizens and improve their experience by providing more choice and autonomy.
What we're hearing from many councils, however, is that they're unable to deliver digital transformation efficiently enough to achieve their aims. Using point solutions tends to create silos of information that can't be usefully connected or shared. And unless new citizen-facing solutions can be integrated with established back-office IT systems, councils find they struggle to achieve the real benefits on offer.
A better approach to digital transformation
The Local Digital Declaration, which outlines ambitions for the next generation of local public services, incorporates a number of guiding principles. As well as designing services around the needs of citizens and delivering value for money, it calls on local government organisations to break the dependency on inflexible technology that doesn't join up effectively.
Flexibility and integration are also key themes in the January 2019 SOCITM Policy Briefing, which identifies use of low-code digital systems as a likely trend in public sector IT over the coming year. A low-code approach:
- Allows rapid development of new systems and services without complex coding
- Puts power in the hands of the people at the front line of service delivery, who are best placed to know what needs to be done to improve or transform a service
The Netcall MATS Low-code solution
The Netcall MATS Low-code solution provides a secure low-code development platform that helps local government accelerate transformation and unlock siloed data.
It allows subject-matter experts with no specialist coding knowledge to quickly build process applications, instead of always turning to overstretched IT teams. There's even a library of pre-configured, quality-controlled 'building blocks' you can download to further speed project delivery. And because IT retains full control of the underlying platform, you can be confident that risks are mitigated and governance is maintained.
Already 50% of London councils and a quarter of councils elsewhere in the UK are working with Netcall. They see rapid project results and resource savings. Examples of Low-code successes include:
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which has developed a range of customer service applications on the Low-code platform, such as noise and nuisance reporting. The applications ensure end-to-end integration from the front office — the citizen-facing screens — through to back-office systems that manage despatch of personnel to deal with a reported incident and enable data analysis to identify hotspots.
Cumbria County Council, which is transforming customer service by improving resolution turnaround and team productivity. In just six weeks it delivered two new online services on the Low-code platform:
- Skips and Scaffolds permit application, integrated with GovPay, that saves contractors time
- Blue Badge application, integrated with Central Badge record and GovPay — over 500 badges were processed in the first few weeks
Join us for breakfast to find out more
Doug Drinkwater of CIO.co.uk will chair a breakfast briefing on Thursday 28 March 2019 at 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin). Join us for an up-to-date market perspective as you hear from some of Network Rail's senior IT team and Netcall’s CTO, who'll discuss how organisations are making real changes in their transformation. Sign up and see more on the agenda.
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