Automation holds the key to creating the efficiencies and savings that councils need to help protect front-line services in the years ahead. Debra Maxwell, CEO, CRM Solutions UK & Ireland, spoke to Local Government Executive to explain why.
The growing interest in Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is perhaps unsurprising given the mounting pressure councils are now under to do more with less.
In a survey of 134 local and central government decision makers, carried out by Arvato in collaboration with iGov last summer, over half of the respondents said that their organisations had started to explore using the technology.
And while councils have introduced new innovation in the front-office to address the challenge of increasing workloads and tightening budgets, it is in the back-office where RPA can make a real difference.
Debra explains: “To put it simply, RPA technology uses software that interacts with systems in the same way that humans do. It follows rule-based business processes to replicate repetitive, labour-intensive tasks where speed and accuracy are key.
“A recent project we implemented with a local authority in the North West – the first of its kind in the UK – has provided evidence that the technology could deliver a real step forward for local government. The programme delivered a range of back-office processes in the council’s revenues department autonomously, with 100 per cent accuracy and time and cost savings of up to 80 per cent.”
The opportunity is not limited to the revenues function. The ability of RPA to produce savings by automating repetitive processes makes it a good fit for any department – from HR to finance and accounting – which is burdened with high proportions of administrative work.