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LOCAL GOVERNMENT Delivering on digital


Exploring the power of new technologies to transform the way Scotland’s local authorities deliver services


BY WILLIAM PEAKIN


A ground-breaking event has challenged the way local gov- ernment thinks about digital technologies in providing services to citizens. Te event was delivered by


Scotland Excel, the centre of pro- curement expertise for Scottish local government, in partnership with the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government. It featured keynote speakers from local government and industry experts. Delegates also took part in inter- active sessions which explored the power of new technologies and discussed their application in a local government environment. Te sessions focused on three


key areas which have the poten- tial for a range of applications across local authority services: Business Insights: How real-


time information from multiple sources across the council can be brought together to support short- term tactical responses and long- term strategic decision making. Digital Accounts: How a


citizen’s identity can be veri- fied remotely, in a secure online environment, enabling councils to improve the efficiency of their processes and provide convenient access to services for citizens. Case Workers: How mobile


staff working with citizens in the community, can be provided with remote access to case work files and the ability to record and upload new data during visits.


Te event was hosted by lead-


ing technology company, DXC, which provided access to its Digital Transformation Centre, allowing delegates to visualise and accelerate their organisation’s digital transformation journey. Hugh Carr, Head of Strategic


Procurement at Scotland Excel commented: “Collaboration is central to digital transformation in local government. Tis event was designed to help delegates think about how new tech- nologies can be applied to service delivery and help them take a significant step forward in speci- fying their system requirements. As the Centre of Procurement Expertise, we are working with the Digital Office to implement a range of innovative procurement approaches which will provide access to partners that can deliver the right digital solutions for the local government sector.” Carr added: “Local authorities


have been facing unprecedented challenges in recent years. Tey are balancing a real terms fund- ing cut of 9.6% over the last eight years with increasing demand,


particularly from an aging popu- lation. For some time, councils have been asked to do more in terms of service delivery with less resources. Now more than ever, there is need to increase focus on business transformation, consider new ways of delivering services, and work with communities to provide digital access to services for citizens. Tat is why finding ways to


harness the power of digital tech- nology is so important. “We need to work together to


embrace the opportunities that the digital agenda brings. Col- laboration within local govern- ment IT is being driven by the Digital Office and supported by Scotland Excel and is definitely encouraging a shift from legacy systems to new ways of working. Councils are increasingly learning and benefiting from each other as digital transformation becomes more and more integral to their service areas.” Martyn Wallace, Scottish local


government’s Chief Digital Of- ficer, said: “Digital for us means user by design, technology by


Suhki Gill and Andrea Bolden, DXC Technology, Cllr John


Shaw and Hugh Carr, Scotland Excel, Martyn Wallace, Digital Office for Scottish Local Government.


default, not the other way around. Te challenge we see in a lot of businesses - private and public - is that a new technology becomes available and they try to create a business out of the technology, rather than look- ing at the problem they want to solve first. Te Digital Office is a proponent of the Scottish ap- proach to service design, which is focused on making the most of user stories and research in designing technology that can improve certain pain points. “Digital is the last lever local


government can pull to get the savings and efficiencies they need. Te fact is no-one will ever truly deliver ‘digital’; however, the transformation we are see- ing is as much an evolution as well as revolution. It is about putting digital solutions all the way through the business. Tis means frontline staff having the right tools, equipment and data to help them make better deci- sions in the field, as well as col- lecting that data to help senior managers make improvements elsewhere.” l


FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2019 | 23


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