With central government setting out its plans to lift current lockdown restrictions, local authorities are operating in a world of radical uncertainty with a wide range of possible trajectories ranging from budget cuts to increased demand across its community-based services.
The new world as we see it requires local authorities to consider new ways of operating with technology seen as an ‘enabler’ of change through enhanced access to information, automation of inefficient processes with the ultimate goal of helping to deliver a superior level of customer service.
Digital Transformation and in particular mobile working, is being embraced to drive such change but now more than ever, an Enterprise-wide approach is being adopted. It’s an approach that is all about enabling service areas to do more with less & empowering individuals with updated and efficient working processes.
Flexible labour utilisation is equally viewed as a crucial element of “high performance” that supports the production of high-value services. It has been frequently argued that skills requirements are being transformed to create ‘flexibility’ whilst providing a ‘duty of care’ to residents.
Totalmobile’s response to helping Local Authorities deal with the challenges faced by Covid-19 lead to the creation of our ‘Every Officer’ concept that since then has been incredibly popular with local authorities as a means of accelerating the digital transformation agenda.
In our latest interview, Totalmobile’s Managing Director for Public Services, Charles Knight provides an overview of the situation faced as a result of the pandemic, and how Totalmobile’s Every Officer concept and mobile technology can help improve efficiencies, mobility and service delivery across local authorities. Charles has extensive experience in working with councils and the local government sector on implementing digital solutions in order to achieve improved efficiencies and joined Totalmobile in 2016 to ensure our customers are fully benefiting from Totalmobile’s solutions.
Can you tell us about the new propensity with the multi-skilled, multi-disciplined workforce and how this has impacted Local Authorities through the pandemic?
“In a real job sense, multi-skilling is a talent that can prove to be beneficial in the workplace and valuable for both the employee and employer, especially within fast-paced modern organisations, where the workplace philosophy is no longer about concentrating only on one’s own tasks. For me any employee of a local authority has a duty-of-care to their customers whilst adding value to other service areas. Therefore, multi-skilled employees have competencies that allow them to work in areas and departments beyond their own. This level of flexibility is core for employees learn to become flexible and responsive to changing demands and needs.”
Can you tell us about the ‘Every Officer’ concept?
“The ‘Every Officer’ concept looks at how local authorities can empower their employees to deliver a superior level of service to their residents within a given jurisdiction. It ensures the point of contact in touch with the resident is compiling the information that will inevitably deliver an improved level of service. This has been accelerated through the pandemic with services transitioning overnight to new digital channels yet the amount of touchpoint’s, remain the same. Let me bring this into context, if I’m an engineer working within the housing and repairs service area and I’ve got a visit in my diary to go out to a resident, I go there and during that same time I’m in a bit of a hostile situation as I’m noticing things while I’m undertaking the repair. This could be anything from a safeguarding issue to a rent collection. As an employee of the council, I’ve a duty of care to that resident and therefore the ability to quickly compile some information that could be forwarded over to the most appropriate department. This will enable the relevant service area to have more background context to then deliver an even better level of service. Rather than being active to situations, local authorities can be pro-active in terms of their approach.”
How will local authorities benefit from taking on board the ‘Every Officer’ approach?
“Local Authorities who embrace an enterprise-wide solution and in particular the Every Officer concept moving forward will benefit from a more joined-up approach to working. Enabling cross-service information sharing based upon real-time data gathered from the front-line that in turn will enforce improved decision-making to the benefit of that individual. Otherwise, you’ve got isolated set ups that will derive little or no value resulting in a fragmented customer experience.
By streamlining key processes, you not only save on costs and increase the capacity of your workforce, but also assure compliance with standards with the clear aim of delivering a superior level of customer service.”
How do you think mobile technology will help local authorities going forward?
“Covid-19 is completely changing the behaviours of how local authorities and government institutions go about setting themselves up for a world that remains ever-changing. At the moment, staff can’t access their main facilities and are having to operate from within a home-based environment. That in itself creates the need to support a more ‘agile’ way of working and for me that creates a pendulum shift as far as current strategies are concerned. For me this will on serve to accelerate their views on mobility and how mobility can play a role in delivering cost reductions. Local authorities will be able to operate in a different way and that will only support the ‘Every Officer’ approach – which is people being able to do anything they need through one mobile app.”
Mobile Workforce Management from Totalmobile
Totalmobile’s Mobilise solution is a Workforce Management Solution that empowers your workforce to capture intelligent data and access the information needed to deliver services efficiently, first time. It can be used by every member of staff across multiple service areas within local government authorities which meets their specific needs, via a single platform that is easy to manage and support. If you’d like further information, visit our website www.totalmobile.co.uk