As a busy local authority, Neath Port Talbot Council is faced with the task of continually enhancing the quality of its front and back-office services while creating new efficiencies and optimising employee resource.
The Council partnered with Arvato in 2018 to tackle this challenge within its HR function and implemented robotic process automation (RPA) technology, which cut the cost-per-transaction for several key processes by up to 95 per cent, enabling staff to focus more time on strategic, business-critical work.
To build on this success, the authority wanted to replicate the results across its finance and legal departments – two areas well-suited to the technology due to the high volume of repetitive, resource-intensive tasks.
Working closely with Arvato, the Council designed and implemented an end-to-end digital automation solution. This was to significantly reduce the amount of staff resource required to handle legal and finance processes and reduce the cost of individual transactions, whilst improving outcomes for citizens and businesses by speeding up payments and responses to Environmental Information Requests (EIRs).
Arvato deployed its ProcessAutomate solution, which combines its public sector expertise with intelligent automation technology from software specialists Blue Prism, to create an agile, virtual workforce able to mimic human processing of repetitive, labour-intensive processes.
Following a series of joint workshops to identify processes, the Council developed one solution to handle EIRs for the Land Charges team and worked closely with Arvato to support finance in making prompt payments to citizens and suppliers through its ‘Faster Payments’ process.
The Council must answer EIR requests but the service is free of charge, meaning it doesn’t generate revenue to cover its internal costs. ProcessAutomate – which was introduced alongside a new web form to standardise requests – addresses this reducing the amount of team resource required for each response from 20 minutes to just five.
The technology automatically receives requests over email and enters data into the back-office system, reverting any complex requests to a council officer for checking and processing.
Meanwhile, the ‘Faster Payments’ solution automatically inputs data into the authority’s finance systems and conducts verification.
We’re enabling the Council’s HR team to do more for less, cutting transaction costs by up to 95% using automation.