Robotics Process Automation (RPA) adoption on the rise as government organisations seek to address a sharp rise in work volumes and falling staff levels
- 21 per cent of government employees expecting to see RPA trialled in their departments over the next 12 months
- 73 per cent have seen work volumes rise in the past year
- 68 per cent have experienced a reduction in available resource as a result of staff cuts over the same period
- 57 per cent report that more than a tenth of their department’s staff are spending the majority of their time on completing repetitive, administrative tasks
Over half (53 per cent) of public sector senior managers say their organisations have explored the use of automation technology in the past year to help transform services in the wake of increasing workloads and tightening budgets.
The research, conducted by iGov Survey on behalf of business outsourcing partner Arvatorevealed that 21 per cent of respondents expect automation technology to be trialed within their department or authority over the next 12 months.
According to the survey of 134 decision makers across 118 public sector organisations, mounting financial challenges, major welfare reforms and growing pressure on citizen-facing services are behind the surge in interest in the technology.
The findings show that 73 per cent of respondents have experienced rising work volumes in their departments over the last 12 months, with 68 per cent reporting a reduction in the size of their team.
Those who have started experimenting with automation technology cited the potential to free-up employees to deliver business-critical services (89 per cent) and reduce the burden of repetitive work (84 per cent) as key to their decision. Improving citizen services by responding faster to enquiries was a driver for automation for 67 per cent of respondents.
Debra Maxwell, CEO of CRM Solutions, UK & Ireland, Arvato, commented: “Automation has been widely embraced in the private sector and it’s encouraging to see that government bodies are becoming more receptive to this technology as a way to improve services for citizens and increase efficiencies. Fundamentally, it’s about enabling public sector employees to focus on what’s really important, and redirect resource away from mundane, repetitive tasks.”
“At Sefton Council, one of the first local authorities to implement the technology, our RPA project has delivered impressive results, including reducing input times for Council Tax direct debit payments by 80 per cent, with 100 per cent accuracy.”
“With automation technology inevitably becoming more accessible to UK organisations, it has huge potential to deliver transformation in the public sector. We’re keen to work with government organisations to help them prepare for the changes that this kind of innovation will bring.”
The research, which surveyed senior staff across local councils, central government departments and non-departmental public bodies, found the top priority departments for delivering new efficiencies were customer services, IT and revenues and benefits.
However, the findings show barriers to implementation still exist. According to the research, of those workers who stated their organisations are not currently exploring robotic automation, 28 per cent are unaware of the possible improvements that can be made with 23 per cent stating that a mix of legacy and new IT systems is a problem in terms of choosing a solution.
The findings of the research have been published in a new whitepaper from Arvato, entitled ‘Driving transformation through automation in the Public Sector’ – to access, please click here
The full survey findings can also be found here
About the research
The survey was conducted online by iGov Survey in collaboration with Arvato between Thursday 9th June 2016 and Wednesday 6th July 2016. 134 individuals from 118 unique organisations participated in the survey.
Survey respondents represented a broad cross-section of roles across government, all of which have had involvement in or responsibility for transforming service delivery. This included: IT Managers, Heads of Transformational Change, Heads of HR & Customer Services, Heads of Digital Customer Communications Team, Heads of Customer Insight, Directors of Digital Services, Directors of Customer Services, Digital and Learning and Development Officers, Customer Service Centre Managers, Customer Engagement Managers, Corporate Directors, Chief Executives, Chairmen, Business Change Managers, Assistant Directors Corporate Services
For more information, visit: www.igovnews.com