Digital self-service: transforming public services

The recent Channel Shift in the Public Sector conference focused on how public sector organisations are harnessing the power of digital services to drive efficiencies and savings.

Every year, local government are mandated to deliver over 100 different services even though funding is still being cut to meet central government targets. In addition, citizen expectations are higher than ever before. They want to be able to engage with councils on their terms, wherever they happen to be and on whatever device they are using 24/7 365 days of the year.

Councils are working hard to address these challenges and have looked towards using technology and digital tools in more innovative ways to drive transformation.  Many councils have identified citizen self-service as a way to reduce costs and increase efficiency to meet customer expectations.  However, it’s not just about cost savings but providing the same level of service, for more people with less resource.

One of the topics discussed at the conference, highlighted how councils have reduced the processing costs of managing customer contact in the ‘front office’, by designing out avoidable manual contact when implementing and utilising digital services.  Councils commented that they had seen a rise in customer satisfaction and an increase in online transactions whilst face to face contact and calls had decreased.  However, it’s also about recognising where digital services can add value and where they can’t.  

For example, by offering a digital service to report potholes - whilst this may have reduced face to face or phone contact, the number of potholes reported increased which impacted the budget required to fill the holes.

Making services accessible in one place has been highly successful for Harrow Council since the introduction of their MyHarrow Account.  Harrow delivers online digital services that work both for the customer and for the council which have delivered real savings and increased customer satisfaction as more transactions are being resolved at first point of contact.

Harrow actively encourages online transactional customer contact and includes a portal where selected local businesses can offer discounts to its citizens.  

iApply by Idox fits perfectly into this trend for digital self-service by offering local authorities the opportunity to benefit from an out of the box digital solution that makes submitting the most popular transactions (Planning, Building and License applications) simple for customers and cost effective for the authority. iApply offers significant efficiencies gained from direct synchronisation with back office systems reducing and even removing the need for manual intervention.

For more information about iApply, visit: digital self-service.