Report highlights a lack of integration of CRM and e-forms with back office systems
Local authorities are still rekeying a lot of information and wasting about 2 million man hours a year, according to a survey of 250 around the UK.
The National Digital Report by software company NDL, says that councils are not going all the way with digital transformations or obtaining the potential savings.
Among the findings of its survey, which included telephone interviews with officials in areas including IT, transformation and customer services, was that almost a quarter of authorities rekey data they receive via e-forms, and more than half are rekeying more than half of the data they receive.
This is creating a financial waste of more than £14 million a year cross the country, which could increase as authorities go further along the road to channel shift. On average, respondents said they are only about a third of the way along the path, suggesting the potential savings could rise to £45 million a year if the processes are properly automated.
Efforts to integrate customer relationship management (CRM) systems and e-forms with back office systems, which would sharply reduce the rekeying, have made limited progress – even though 84% of respondents acknowledged it would increase the system’s effectiveness.
The report says that e-forms are now on the websites of 95% organisations and are gradually taking over from CRM in about a third, with another 10% regarding it as a possibility. But the use of CRM is still increasing in many organisations, with 21% now running more than 100 services through the systems, although they are more likely to be those with low complexity and high activity.
A clear majority of organisations (78%) also confirmed that they are sharing information with others, predominantly other local authorities. Its extent is limited, with nearly all having fewer than 10 agreements in place, but three-quarters of the respondents said their involvement in data sharing is likely to increase.
They will, however, have to overcome the complexities of sharing data, especially around compliance and data security: more than half said this is a hindrance to partnership working.
Similarly, three-quarters said they were in a shared services arrangement and these are expected to become even more common; but the efficiency savings are being undermined by a lack of integration across disparate legacy systems.
Papering over cracks
Declan Grogan, managing director of NDL, commented: “There are some authorities which have embraced innovative digital service creation and delivery and have made real savings, underpinned by the appropriate technology to eliminate manual processes. However, the vast majority of organisations have only implemented in sparsely selected areas and most are papering over the cracks by using manual labour to present allegedly end-to-end services.
“By investing in technology to support efficient digital service delivery, this will not only improve service delivery to citizens but also save money, preserving it for care, education and supporting the communities in which we all live.”