norfolkOne of the biggest challenges for local government administrators is the integration of services provided by different agencies to create better experiences for citizens. With continuing budget pressure, the need to integrate is also driven by mandate to increase efficiency. Three technology trends have the potential to underpin a better way of delivering local government services.

  • Mobility – access to information for citizens and employees wherever they may be, whenever they need to invoke a service
  • Analysis – the inability to look across different work streams and find common patterns could potentially help service delivery functions to predict and anticipate requirements
  • Self service – by making information available regardless of participation level, local government agencies stand to gain by tapping into diverse skills from different parts of the community

Norfolk County Council(NCC) has created a program to establish a cloud-based information hub that could potentially transform the way it delivers a number of services. NCC is responsible for education, social services, highways, fire and rescue services, libraries, waste disposal, consumer services and planning for a population of almost 900,000. The opportunity to integrate service delivery across these domains encompasses the spectrum from higher customer satisfaction to lower delivery costs, with better employee productivity at the core.

How will the program work?

Spearheaded by HP, a consortium of technology players including Microsoft, Vodafone and some 50 small medium enterprises have come together to create a cloud-based information hub. Recognising¬†the economic and social value of the “big data” held by NCC and its partner agencies was the first set in creating this program. The information hub is designed to help NCC create a local knowledge economy while driving multi-agency collaboration.

Tapping into academia

In a nod to the trend of flexible sourcing, the new information hub will be developed by graduates from the University of East Anglia under the supervision of HP and NCC staff. This program goes further by supporting the creation of a degree in Information and Management Analytics to provide a future work force that can address more sophisticated needs as they arise. The program also includes projects such as one-to-one computing for school children and 10,000 volunteering hours to support community projects

Flexible partnerships

In addition to HP’s analytics and resources this program also taps into Microsoft’s CityNext program which is designed to help local government transformer services. Vodafone is also a critical player and provides an enables secure data centre connectivity combined with 4G to enable multiple agencies secure access to services. This is part of Vodafone’s Better Ways of working engagement and brings its in-house consultancy practice to support the council’s new way new work styles

Future outlook

This program promises significant benefit to NCC and highlights HP’s capability in the local government space. HP’s information management and analytics competences have been built over a number of years and a number of acquisitions. Seeing them brought together in a holistic program with significant rewards for the customer is encouraging.

But for local governments as a whole there are three important lessons in out of this program.

  • Recognising that multiple agencies need to work together to provide better citizen experiences
  • Understanding that mobility is now table stakes for employee productivity
  • Appreciating the role technology can play in enabling new ways of delivering public services

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