Transformation initiatives in the public sector are small but important stories to emulate countrywide. Here are situations where public services have found a problem, implemented a solution and are now reaping the rewards.
The key thing to focus on is not simply the results they’ve achieved (although those are important for proving the ROI of digital transformation), but how these public services went about it. How did they incentivise staff to ensure a smooth transition?
Read on to explore more on digital transformation initiatives and how they worked.
- Improving Transformation and Financial Health
- Using Collaboration to Empower Public Service Employees
- Techniques for Successful Transformation Initiatives
Improving Transformation and Financial Health
Since 2010, local councils have experienced financial issues, making innovation and transformation difficult processes to implement. The Local Government Association (LGA) has taken great strides in aiding council and public services in their bespoke journeys towards transforming public services within the remit of digital.
Many public services have been able to enhance the foundations of their work through digital innovation, the initiatives behind which are various.
For example, the Borough Council of East Riding of Yorkshire and Scarborough is creating an internet-based ‘virtual customer service centre’. The public services in that area were experiencing difficulty personalising their services as commissioned by citizens. They were being held back by the systems they were using.
The transformation initiative framed the change as something that would not only ease up the tensions felt by siloed public service systems, but would also create a significant financial gain in the long run.
Using Collaboration to Empower Public Service Employees
As the digital landscape has shifted over the years, the public services have been given the opportunity to capitalise from that. Creating sustainable services that last through change is only one incentive for organisation-wide buy-in. With citizens demanding digital services and public platforms, public service employees can also benefit from transformation initiatives.
To reflect this, in 2013, the Smarter Digital Services team was created to support councils and their employees in an effort to increase efficiency. This team helps secure transformation as a universally-accepted process by offering the skills and knowledge to train public service workers.
For example, they aid in:
- Business process analysis and re-engineering: This includes end-to-end digital design, data capture, cost-to-serve analysis and stakeholder engagement.
- Website development and improvement.
- User research: This involves capturing a user journey based on deep insight into these personas.
Delving deeper into one of their projects, they were tasked with transforming the Kent and Medway Growth & Infrastructure (GIF) document, once a static PDF, into an online interactive hub. This transformation has offered a service that is open and accessible, as well as retaining dynamic and relevant data.
They originally found that the mechanisms in place for delivering growth were not actually providing the necessary infrastructure which that growth needed to proceed. However, by enabling the interaction and manipulation of key data for relevant parties through creating the ‘Digi-GIF’, they were able to capture consistency and a proactive approach to planning.
This kind of aid incentivises teams on the ground as it provides the kind of shared knowledge that helps them implement any transformation themselves. Public services can frame transformation as opportunities for shared learning, but they must also work hard to actually provide those opportunities. This is to create what we mentioned earlier, ‘sustainable services that last through change’.
Techniques for Successful Transformation Initiatives
Any transformation should be undertaken incrementally. Without a ‘smooth transition’, shock-and-awe transformations are very likely to fail. This could be because there’s not enough time for stakeholders to truly understand the requirements and impacts of the initiative. It can also be a financial mistake - investing the full amount in a process that people aren’t 100% convinced by.
Create Incremental Buy-In
Initiatives that are incremental, with incentives to match the pace, see higher success rates. In these situations, functionality is added steadily, so buy-in is created consistently. This also means results will be smaller but happen more often, rather than an initial peak and then plateau.
Provide Opportunities for Learning
Furthermore, public sector leaders can enhance a transformation initiative by framing it as an opportunity for proactive learning. This is a benefit for end-users, who are expanding their skillset, increasing the ability to match the needs of everyday citizens, either locally or nationally. Every role becomes more effective when given more real-world applicable skills.
Outsource Expertise When Necessary
Digital transformation allows public sector leaders to bring in outside expertise - another bonus for workplace staff, as they’re able to learn from technological experts. This is akin to mentorship, providing more knowledge for departments, so that they’re not only accepting of change, they’re confident in it.
Not only does leveraging outside expertise incentivise staff, it can also reduce risk, shorten timelines and provide some much-needed guidance.
Change, or adaption, is a healthy process for public sector organisations. With emerging technologies being developed to cope with rising external pressures, it makes sense to look into the benefits, background and process of cultural and digital transformation.
Transforming Public Sector Organisations
The public sector can greatly benefit from making a determined effort into both cultural and digital transformation. If you’re looking to make a positive impact on your organisation, enhance the working culture of your departments and capitalise on emerging technology, download our helpful roadmap.
It contains expert insight, best practices and general guidance for implementing transformation. Click the link to download a copy.