Suffolk County Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

Common Problem: Deliver significant reduced cost and human effort involved in administrative processes.

 Embedding 24-hour virtual process automation would enable local government (LA) to deliver significant, projected, cost and effort reductions in ‘high volume/low complexity’ tasks and where data flows between processes.

 Local Government (LG) has many complex services and a myriad of IT systems.  Traditional automation involves creating interfaces between systems themselves and then re-engineering processes. Complexities mean it is time consuming and costly – targeted use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – specially NOT hard-coded to any particular task, process or team thus enabling cross-organisation usage – provides solutions.

 Our aim is to collaborate with regional colleagues in Babergh, Mid, and West Suffolk and in Norfolk. Strategically, a regional Local Government Centre of RPA Excellence would afford shared learning and opportunity across multiple authorities, thus ensuring cross-tier processes are automated quickly.  

Building upon initial trials elsewhere, we aim to further develop understanding and prove the case, ultimately aiming for deployment at scale. 

Typical processes to target – of interest across the UK – include invoice processing: Currently for SCC it involves around 150 items/tasks daily averaging 3 mins each, equalling 450 mins/day. Modelling suggests 95% of the process could be automated.

Discovery evidence

SCC has been working with providers to understand how private sector RPA usage can transfer in to public services. Collaborative work over the last few months has included a ‘deep dive’ of both financial and HR services within SCC. This has led to the creation of an outline business case to support the implementation of an RPA trial, which this bid is seeking to fund – a total cost of £70,000.

Our discussions have been focussed on developing not just a pilot but a ‘business as usual’ roll-out plan if the case is proven, as research indicates it is likely to be. Initially we reviewed a number of processes and a ‘considered’ leap of faith – starting with a small scope of work – will allow SCC to prove the value of RPA and develop internal competencies to create a foundation of skills and capabilities within the business to enable us to scale quickly across the organisation once the initial value is proven. This approach will facilitate the identification of further use cases; future enterprise grade automations and improved platform productivity at scale of automation increases, and because it will be internally/regionally resourced, at reduced cost

  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Introduction to service design

Other training requests

SCC has a culture of supporting personal development and this is further supported through ‘Our Digital Business’ strategy which aims to promote and embed the use of digital innovation throughout the authority. All courses on offer can add value in some shape or form to front-line staff; managers; senior managers and Councillors alike. And not forgetting the broader Voluntary and Community Sector organisations and Parish Councils that we work alongside and support. Between us our focus is on delivering quality services that meet the needs of our citizens thus anything that helps to further understand that need – specifically in a digital sense – is key. We would very much welcome the opportunity to explore the opportunities further and will be undertaking this in parallel to our funding application.

1 thought on “Suffolk County Council

  1. As Environmental Health Practitioner. Council Isles of Scilly:

    This sounds like a very “outside of the box” thought process for Local Government and a very fascinating project. LA’s have less opportunities for this kind of process development because of a lack of funding that the private sector may naturally benefit from. The outcome could ultimately to be a proven significant cost benefit for many LA’s if successful. Supporting this project.

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