By Arvato

10 Jan 2020

How can local authorities and government departments ensure that civil servants are able to fulfil their potential in times of increasingly squeezed budgets? Arvato explains 

Against a backdrop of squeezed budgets and economic uncertainty, how can public sector organisations fulfil their digital transformation goals while reducing costs and creating efficiencies? 

Most crucially, what must local authorities and government departments do to ensure civil servants spend their time delivering the highest-value activities, and not repetitive, administrative tasks? 

Transforming the back-office to deliver efficiency and cost savings 

Technology is already transforming how government services are delivered. Digitising platforms and enabling citizens to self-serve is changing the way people interact with public services, which together with creating new efficiencies is freeing up teams to focus more of their resource on complex enquiries from the public.

But it is in the back-office where new technology is empowering public sector organisations to make significant savings. Streamlining key administrative functions, such as HR, finance, payroll and procurement, using digital tools offers low-hanging fruit to boost efficiency while also cutting costs. 

We’re helping our clients bring together multiple back-office systems and integrate them seamlessly into one easily-accessible, user-friendly interface using Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) platforms, which are introducing new efficiencies by standardising core processes and optimising workflows.  

Our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solution, ProcessAutomate, is also enabling local authorities to automate repetitive back-office functions with 100 per cent accuracy, delivering significant time savings and reducing the cost-per-transaction by up to 95 per cent. 

The technology follows rules-based business processes and interacts with systems in the same way that people do by creating an agile, virtual workforce, which can mimic human processing of high-volume, repetitive tasks.

Achieving new economies of scale through shared services

One way that our clients are achieving significant benefits is from building these technologies into a shared services solution. This uses a single centre to operate back-office functions for multiple organisations or departments, and provides the resource to consolidate and automate administrative processes, allowing employees to focus on citizens’ queries.

We rolled out a shared services solution for the Department for Transport (DfT) and its executive agencies, including the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Highways England (HE), the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Our work has helped to transform the department’s HR, payroll, finance and procurement operations, providing fully-standardised back-office services that are effective, efficient and allow our clients to drive forward core departmental objectives.  

Our Swansea-based centre, which employs over 220 people, supports the agencies’ 19,000 employees and our approach incorporates a best-practice, standardised migration process, which protects against any drop in operations. All services are accredited to the same security standards as central government departments.

RPA is one key technology we have integrated into the delivery of business processes, supporting the completion of employee services and finance transactions. It will shortly go live within customer support and reporting, with plans to expand the number of automated back-office processes further, increasing the pace and compliance of overall service delivery. 

A shift to cloud-based infrastructure also forms a key part of the strategy, which will see the business transfer the department’s two existing ERP systems to a cloud-hosted technology platform, in partnership with cloud services company Mobilise. Existing data centre operations will transition from traditional physical infrastructure to the public cloud, underpinned by Amazon Web Services. 

As well as helping fulfil the government’s ‘Cloud First’ policy, the new infrastructure has reduced the cost of ongoing rack management by 45 per cent and eliminated the need for a ‘technical refresh’ of the department’s physical infrastructure. Overall, this will deliver a multi-million-pound saving over four years.

Our long-term partnership with Mobilise will be crucial in assisting public sector organisations with the transition to a digital economy, supporting the delivery of streamlined back-office services underpinned by an agile, scalable platform.

Realising the benefits of a technology-driven approach

New technologies are providing the tools for both local and central government departments to optimise their core processes, automating repetitive, labour-intensive tasks to enable staff to spend more time on critical, public-facing services. Partnering with a dedicated outsourcing provider allows the public sector to harness the benefits of this technology-driven approach, unlocking real transformation, productivity and profitability.

Shared services are also playing an important role. We’re seeing demand grow across government to take advantage of the significant economies of scale that can be delivered across the back-office. 

Our approach to shared services and the key steps for ensuring success are detailed in our recent whitepaper, along with an in-depth case study of the work we have delivered for the DfT. Read more here. 

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