With the political party conference season behind us and with the pre-election debate ongoing, it’s clear that politicians understand the developing role of technology in transforming services and the need for it to be at the forefront of the debate.
During his speech at the Conservative party conference, chancellor George Osborne discussed the “industrial revolution” we are living in, explaining that it’s largely driven by new technologies shaking up established ways of doing things. He then went on to applaud the power technology has placed in the hands of the citizens.
Meanwhile, Labour launched its Number One Digital programme, an initial review of the UK’s digital future, with recommendations to support the roadmap for change. This new and enthusiastic focus emphasised just how crucial it is for politicians to be at the forefront of the digital debate while voters are considering who to side with.
Clearly the role of technology and digital services in creating smarter ways of working is around to stay whoever wins the election, and should continue to be front of mind for any public sector organisation, particularly local authorities.
I’m having an increasing number of conversations with authorities about how they can expect service delivery demands to change in the future and what they can do to prepare.
Take Wychavon DC, where an ageing population continues to be a major concern, but plans to interact more closely with the business and younger generations within the community are a top economic priority. As part of a strategic digital partnership with Civica, Malvern Hills DC and Worcester City Council, Wychavon has been able to sustain local employment and cut costs, so that it can focus more on tackling this challenge in the year ahead.
To better understand what the future holds, we recently brought together a group of pioneering leaders to discuss the changing citizen and what the local authority of 2025 would look like in response to this.
We’ll be releasing the output of this discussion imminently but needless to say things are set to shift dramatically, and if organisations don’t start future-proofing themselves now their citizens will suffer.
Over the next year, discussions around technology-enabled ways of working will continue to advance. I welcome these conversations, but cannot stress enough the importance of local government factoring insight and analytics into how it plans for the future – only then will it come out top.
Paul Bradbury, group business development director, Civica