Neath Port Talbot Council has begun to use robotic process automation (RPA) in some back office processes, claiming to be the first local authority in Wales to do so.
It has been working with business process outsourcing provider Arvato, which has implemented the software robots based on process flows created by the council.
The early deployments have been around HR processes, on process Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requests and employee changes, with trials now begun on the management of fixed term contracts.
There are plans for RPA to be rolled out across other departments, with Arvato providing consultancy and training council employees to manage the technology.
Neath Port Talbot said it has not led to any job losses – with the HR team already having been reduced – and it is expected to reduce the cost per transaction by up to 95%, with the average cost of dealing with a DBS request falling form £1.50 to 10 pence. The HR team have estimated it will release the equivalent of 56 hours of officer time and expect to increase savings as the robot is used for further processes.
Councillor Anthony Taylor, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for transformation, said: “We are keen to explore the efficiencies and improvements we can deliver through RPA, which will free up more time to help us deliver outcomes for residents and create a better working environment for our employees.
“The technology represents real progress in transforming how we structure and deliver human resources. We’re looking forward to seeing the full range of benefits RPA can offer and to working with Arvato.”
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