“We all know that the aim of digital public services is to reduce administrative burdens on businesses and citizens by making interactions with public bodies efficient, more convenient and less costly,” says Stella Power, managing director of Annertech.
“But in the now digital-first world, most local authorities have had to up their game to meet the expectations of their citizens while making efficiencies.”
In the most recent Public Service ICT Strategy (2015-2020), the first two of its five pillars are a digital-first approach and build-to-share respectively.
The importance of a digital-first approach for local authorities
The first tenet calls for the “digitisation of key transactional services and the increased use of ICT to deliver improved efficiency within public bodies and provide new digital services to citizens, businesses and public servants”.
However, whether due to the the pandemic or not, the government’s vision for a public service digital strategy has stalled at a time when most transactions and interactions need to be online.
“What we have found through our work with local authorities is that they all share the same pain points and, by and large, have the same challenges when it comes to bringing services online,” says Power.
How code sharing engenders efficiencies and enables innovation
The second pillar, “build-to-share” (B2S) aims to deliver “better outcomes and efficiency through innovation and excellency in ICT”. What B2S offers is obvious in terms of cost saving, but what is more implicit is that it standardises best practice and ultimately provides a better service to citizens.
As a case in point, Annertech has been working with some of Ireland’s local authorities in the rollout of their services online. One notable example has been the work Annertech completed for Limerick City and County Council which was subsequently shared with Fingal County Council.
Although there were nuances between the Limerick and Fingal projects, in terms of UX/UI and certain functionality, by complying with B2S, Annertech has transferred valuable IP while also building on the code base for Fingal. Since then, Fingal has shared it with other local authorities – with potentially more coming onboard.
How local authorities can thrive in a digital-first world
“As build-to-share and digital-first are the first two principles of the government’s ICT strategy – and will very likely form the bedrock of any new strategic objectives – it is how local authorities coalesce their knowledge to solve common problems that will free up time, money and resources to focus on innovation and nuanced ways to further meet the expectations of today’s citizens.” Power concludes.
Annertech is Ireland’s leading open-source digital agency. It helps some of the largest organisations in both public and commercial sectors realise efficiencies by bringing their products and services online while delivering enjoyable experiences for the end user.
For more information, see annertech.com, tel: 01-524 0312, or email: [email protected]