Understanding the Benefits of Process Automation for Local Government
RPA and intelligent automation is quickly changing the way many industries work, including local government. If industries are going to continue to thrive and grow, it’s important that you’re able to understand the strategic implications of RPA. One of the biggest challenges of RPA for local government is knowing where to begin, as well as a lack of understanding into the potential benefits.
Process automation for local government can help to lift the current pressures across various councils and authorities, as well as delivering a more efficient and rewarding environment for staff to work in.
The challenges local governments face
Local government is facing a multitude of challenges and pressures to deliver improved services. In particular, local councils are under pressure to cut costs due to reductions in funding. Services such as libraries, parks, community centres and more are all under risk of closure as council continue to try and be as cost-efficient as possible.
There is also an increased demand for housing and social care. Age UK has predicted that by 2036, the number of people aged over 85 will have doubled, which will result in a much higher demand for housing and assisted living.
In today’s digital age, local governments must now meet the expectations of people who want to receive services quickly and easily, by being able to engage with service providers across digital channels.
The changes brought in by GDPR are also resulting in challenges, with many local councils having to review and change procedures and policies to comply with GDPR legislation.
Can RPA help to mitigate these challenges?
RPA has the power to help to increase data quality whilst keeping it secure, as well as eliminating human errors which could be costly. There are a number of scenarios within local government where RPA could make a huge impact for the better.
In the case of adult care, social workers often request benefits such as nursing care, transport and day care. They must submit documentation electronically, which has to be confirmed and dealt with accordingly. Automating this process can free up staff time to reach their full potential, as staff would only need to deal with cases that have been escalated by the software.
Every year housing associations will submit rental increases, which must be processed quickly and efficiently to ensure accurate financial reporting and statistics. The rental increase will also affect the tenants’ housing benefits which must be recalculated by the council through spreadsheets. This is a process that is a perfect candidate for RPA, processing cases in a fraction of the time it would take a human workforce.
Another productive example of the value RPA could bring to local government is council tax. Generally council tax is collected by Direct Debit, but some exceptions can be time consuming and laden with errors. Automating this process to complete exceptions quicker can be incredibly rewarding for the council and the homeowner. Similarly, any change of address or in-borough address change can be dealt with through software, which can facilitate the collection of data from different IT systems and performing multiple checks.
RPA could hold the key to creating an environment whereby staff no longer have to deal with excessive admit or complex IT systems. What’s more, RPA can help with monitoring, reporting and auditing which is important for regulations including Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer.