Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Will tech will save us? - Camden's cuts challenge post 9

Chi Onwurah's excellent Digital Government review set the direction for Labour's approach to digital and public service reform. With councils up and down the country facing huge cuts in their government grant, digital technologies are playing an increasing role in helping authorities balance their books.  

Camden's started a debate by adopting an expansive view of technology in our Digital Strategy.  In the latest update to this we estimate that £60m of the £70m required over the next three years will be delivered by technology solutions.

A fundamental part of this was consideration of how technology would be consumed to support Outcomes Based Budgeting in the Financial Strategy - as there is symbiotic relationship between technology and our ability to achieve outcomes.  Primarily, this involved a judgement on the extent to which OBB initiatives needed to:
  • channel shift, e.g. as the next wave of customer access proposals do / or the personalisation of adult social care expects? 
  • would the initiative require analytics to improve performance or better resource allocation?
  • did the initiative need agile working (e.g. mobile apps, more knowledge working, more wifi? 
  • would it require infrastructure to link services up (e.g. single sign-on / shared services / integrated patient data / making more use of the Camden Resident Index etc)?
  • did it involve changes to our applications (e.g. an upgrade / change / modification)?and
  • if services were being externalised would they need new information sharing arrangements to be put in place or data migrated to a new system? 
What our assessment over the summer showed is that to deliver the Financial Strategy a number will be enabled by digital technology. However, they will consume them for different reasons (e.g. they are linked to web developments or rely on mobile working or several in some cases) and at different levels (e.g. some will require major investments and others less so).

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