The business case of Robotic Process Automation in Councils
From applying for a parking permit or a licence, to keeping a wild animal and renewing library books, Councils represent a major service hub of local government. In fact Councils across the UK offer more than 100 different services managed and delivered by over a million employees (not including the ever increasing outsourcing contractors).
As expected most of those services depend on set processes, some simple (such as change of address) and other more complex (such as planning permission). Councils have long recognised the need for improving their processes not only to achieve cost efficiencies but also to improve their handling times and consequently the service level provided to citizens.
Despite the progress made so far – such as introducing electronic means of communications which have certainly improved service times and costs- there is still room for process optimisation which is often obstructed by departmental, procedural and/or technological silos. To help accelerate this progress, Robotic Process Automation is an appealing option for Councils.
For back-office and internal operations
By replicating the actions of a human being interacting with the user interface of a computer system, Robotic Process Automation in the Back office delivers on its promise to help automate processes that are mundane and repetitive. Just think of all the different, yet similar, tasks that follow every call, visit, email, chat, web form, letter etc, across different departments.
From data validation, to records update and standard email dispatch, Robotic Process Automation can perform these tasks in one third of the time it would take a person, and with 100% accuracy. Even for internal processes, for example Payroll, RPA can simplify the process of updating all relevant files with information like new starters or leavers, contractual or temporary changes, absence and holiday records, deductions etc.
For shared and outsourced service models
Two additional areas where Robotic Process Automation can make a difference for Councils, are shared services and outsourced or managed services. In support of the shared services model many Councils are adopting, Robotic Process Automation can replicate processes, tailor messaging and update systems faultlessly, through easy parametrisation and event-based triggers. This added automation will accelerate the return on investment expected from adopting a shared services model.
With respect to outsourcing, a lot of Councils have been outsourcing many back office tasks to service providers because of their huge administrative burden. Robotic Process Automation would enable them to perform such tasks in-house with tremendous time and resource efficiencies, which further translates into significant reductions in 3rd party costs. Alternatively, Councils could opt for outsourced/managed services providers that use RPA and can therefore provide those services more cost effectively.
For offering a better service
No doubt, Robotic Process Automation can bring significant efficiencies to Councils by improving processes, costs and time to serve. However, the most impactful benefit of Robotic Process Automation is in allowing Councils and their employees to accentuate their role on servicing the public and to provide the ‘human touch’ that is still so important and greatly valued.
To conclude, Robotic Process Automation helps optimise processes, reducing at the same time administrative and 3rd party costs, leaving employees with more time to concentrate on more complex cases and consequently improving quality of service and productivity across the board.