With shrinking budgets, public sector departments are being asked to do more with less.

This means digital initiatives remain key to helping departments increase productivity and meet citizen needs. Automation is helping to relieve the pressure on employees and improve citizen experiences.

According to Gartner, 60% of government organisations will prioritise business process automation by 2026, up from 35% in 2022. While many government departments have already begun to automate processes, the pace and scale of adoption varies widely. Now intelligent automation, which uses data to bring AI and automation together, is increasing the art of the possible. It’s proving to be a game changer in its ability to improve quality, speed and agility by handling as many processes as possible and freeing up teams to focus on more complex work. This helps to deliver more efficient, effective and secure services to citizens and businesses.

Transforming citizen experiences with automation

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has proved to be a pioneer by using their collaborative Intelligent Automation Garage to test and explore innovative ideas, while ensuring that automation is used to support employees and maintain human decision-making. One transformative automation has made it easier for Universal Credit (UC) claimants to apply for financial support until they receive their first UC payment. They can apply 24/7, and receive approval and their payments much faster. Not only has this improved citizen experience, but it’s also saved nearly 500,000 operational hours and £54million in four years. Importantly, it’s also enabled employees to step away from mundane tasks and use their human strengths and skills to make decisions, think creatively and innovate.

How to overcome the hurdles

While some departments such as the DWP and HMRC are accelerating automation, others are encountering challenges to adoption, not least digital skills shortages, lack of capacity and a high level of legacy technology. 

With this in mind, I recommend that government departments take an end-to-end automation as a service approach for a robust automation roadmap from concept, delivery, to ongoing support and optimisation. Approaching automation transformation in a methodical, meaningful way is the best way forwards:

  1. Start by identifying the best processes for automation. Where are the bottlenecks and challenges and where is the biggest return on investment?
  2. Take time to get your data in great shape. Data cleansing will ensure accuracy and that you can drive your transformation effectively.
  3. Design and build your processes. Work with partners who can use the insights from step one to design and build processes to help you deliver key lighthouse projects that prove impact and value, as well as driving further momentum.
  4. Run your automation with specialist back-up and support. Specialist partners will help to maximise uptime and implement any interactive changes quickly.

With intelligent automation you can go beyond replicating simple and repeatable tasks to tackling those that are more complex and intensive, with pace and accuracy:

  • AI-powered analytics can anticipate citizens’ needs and proactively resolve potential issues and enhance citizen experiences 
  • Advanced algorithms can detect anomalies and suspicious fraudulent activities, enabling governments to safeguard public resources and maintain transparency and trust with citizens. 
  • AI-driven compliance systems can automate risk assessments, generate audit reports, and track compliance, reducing penalties and non-compliance risks.

Embedding intelligent automation into your organisation is more than just a technological upgrade; it’s a commitment to making government more agile, responsive, and citizen focused. At Capita, we’re automation technology-agnostic, and can find and partner with a best-in-class solution that meets your specific needs. 

We’re looking froward to sharing our experience of the challenges and barriers to adoption and how we’ve worked with organisations across the public sector to excel with intelligent automation at the Building Smarter State Conference on 27 September.

Written by

Piers Campbell

Piers Campbell

Data and AI Guild Lead, Capita

Piers is an award-winning digital leader with a proven track record of building teams who drive business transformation and deliver tangible benefits. Piers has cultivated a strong collaborative approach and honed client-facing skills at the CXO level across a range of commercial sectors and governmental organisations. He currently leads the digital transformation team for Capita Public Services leveraging digital innovation to design and build the next generation of public services.

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