How automation is changing the public sector
Automation and AI is a hot topic in the public sector right now. Here we explore how it's being used in creating effective public services.
The use of automation in the public sector is not necessarily new. There have already been many success stories, and many organisations are already using solutions such as RPA, Machine Learning and other automation methods in their services.
In 2019, many predicted that RPA and automation will play a big part in in digital transformation within government in the following decade and, with the introduction of many new routes to market for the technology opening up, they appear to have been correct! The public sector is expected to be the fastest-growing user of automation in the next 6 to 12 months – so how will they do it?
Who’s using it and how is it used?
There are a few good examples of automation becoming a big part of digital in the public sector, in 2019 and already in 2020 too. The DWP recently had a big push in 2019 with a robotics and automation unit that aims to increase the usage of the tech in its services in the coming year, and the National Crime Agency is extending its use of the technology to help streamline its processes and help tackle crime in the UK – to name a just a couple!
As we said, most uses of automation within the public sector are used to create easier processes and reduce waste of time and resources. This does have its pros and cons, though…
What are the pros and cons of using automation?
Some of the pros might sound a bit obvious but streamlining and automating processes within the public sector frees up employees to carry out more valuable work. Many organisations have credited the implementation of automation to them fine-tuning their processes and cutting down on wasted time and resources.
There’s always been concern that technology might take people’s jobs and roles – after all, if we can get a machine to learn how to do it, then why do we need people? – but in successful organisations and departments this won’t be the case.
It’s also worth pointing out there is still a lot of discussion about how the public sector’s ethical standards can be met by AI and automation. With more automated solutions within government, the roles of public servants and how the services can best meet citizens’ needs is paramount. We’ll see public sector organisations combating these issues with their procurement practices and how they regulate the solutions they implement. After all, the use of this technology and AI is about trust, so transparency is key about how this technology is being used in public sector services – within government and for the public too.
How is it being bought?
Automation technologies and services such as RPA, machine learning and AI are usually procured by the standard methods. Frameworks such as G-Cloud and Digital Outcomes and Specialists have suppliers able to provide the right solutions. However, these aren’t specifically designed as a procurement route for automation technologies.
This is where 2020 comes in! In February of this year, Crown Commercial Services launched the Automation Marketplace DPS which will provide a direct route for this tech. And in the summer, we’ll see the introduction of the Artificial Intelligence DPS. Both of these are set to be great opportunities for suppliers.