Digital government is the wave of the future with connected experiences and AI support allowing for faster responses and better service to local communities. EY reports that governments must tailor communication to interact effectively with two distinct types of citizens: the digital savvy, who expect 24/7 seamless services and the people in danger of being left behind. However, 71% of UK respondents agree that we need modern technology to solve future problems. Here are eight ways technology can improve local government transparency:
1. Show how the government is meeting basic needs
Over the last two years, most populations have noted a significant decline in their quality of life with restrictions making providing basic needs more challenging. Government support during this tough period needs to remain visible and accountable. Technology can provide for direct and accessible reporting on how much is being spent locally and nationally on essential services like benefits, transport, education, and healthcare.
2. Educate the public on their uptake
Following along from that expense reporting, technology can enable a zoomed-in look at an individual’s uptake of public services. Typically, a council will be using several different legacy platforms to interact with its residents. Each platform contains customer records, and each one will have slightly different information about the same citizen. Others will be entirely out of date. The result is a disjointed experience for the end user and an inability on the council’s part to interact with them seamlessly. New technology exists to link these disparate systems into one cohesive citizen-orientated experience.
3. Provide better income collection & payment
New technology can allow for more payment providers to integrate with legacy systems providing citizens with increased ways to pay into local government and get money out of local government. With this comes better reporting and tracking of government spending in the eyes of the citizen.
4. Eliminate backroom deals
With more digital solutions for procurement and sourcing, local governments can reduce corruption and sweetheart deals that erode public trust. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can look for conflicts of interest, misleading structures, and unsuitability and then flag them for independent, in-person review. This will have the knock-on effect of reducing scandal, improving trust.
5. Better adapt and respond
Citizens want to know what their local authority is doing in response to potential disasters and crises. According to DigiLeaders, “The ability to adapt to sudden change is crucial in today’s digital world. Adopting cloud solutions will require a certain amount of flexibility and adaptability on the part of local authorities, so both employees and citizens can drive true value from the technology. For many organisations, this is an opportunity for reworking processes and reframing approaches to work.” Being more agile means the wheels of government can turn faster in response to catastrophe.
6. Protecting those in public life
By creating transitive digital citizenship, the actions of others may cause less harm. Digital citizenship is about engaging in appropriate and responsible behaviour when using technology and encouraging others to do so as well. It encompasses digital literacy, ethics, etiquette, online safety, norms, rights, culture and more. When your actions are accountable, it follows that you behave and treat others with greater respect.
7. Creating neighbourhood hubs
Connected government experiences can add transparency around news and statistics too. For instance, Seattle, Washington, uses an application called My Neighbourhood Map. It is an interactive map that allows citizens to find services, see construction or road works, look at emergency incident responses, and more.
8. Prevent duplication & wasted work
Technology can enable portals for reporting issues of concern to local government, tracking the response and uploading post-incident reports. When citizens can quickly see if their concerns are already being addressed, this prevents duplication and extra unnecessary effort. In this way, technology is improving local government transparency and improving efficiencies by showing what’s being actioned, when and how.
MLR Networks works with several local government bodies across the UK. We are a named a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service’s Technology Services 3 Framework (RM6100) so it’s easy to transact any works with us. If you’d like to talk to one of our public sector consultants, please get in touch.