Is the prospect of reduced budgets from central government breeding a culture of innovation and best-practice within the public sector, that could provide useful learning for the private sector?
Is the prospect of reduced budgets from central government breeding a culture of innovation and best-practice within the public sector, that could provide useful learning for the private sector? Most public-sector organisations like local authorities within the UK have had little choice but to overcome the challenge of a future with reduced central government funds, coupled with citizen expectations of better quality services through Digital channels. This uncertainty has given rise to a focus on investing in online channels for customer access coupled with back office digitisation to provide the capability for delivering better services at reduced costs. This challenge initially created a gap that was immediately filled by a number of hungry private sector organisations, eagerly selling popularly branded systems and change management specialists. The key players coming into the public sector, were private sector senior executives who had setup smaller enterprises targeting the public sector and contractors with little strategic outlook. With little knowledge or consideration to the softer side of the organisational landscape these new players provided clever business cases and evidence for a culture of invest to save with the voices of reason being drowned out by flashy presentations, interfaces and workflows. However, something that would never have happened in the private sector then allowed a meaningful discussion around experiences within the public-sector organisations who had travelled on this journey through regional forums to start to review the success of these misadventures. The unique aspect of knowledge sharing that is common place in the public sector has allowed some positive case studies and useful lessons to be drawn. There are various bodies like SOCITM and the I-Network who review best practice and worst practice, which ultimately allowed the public sector to question the use of Digital solutions as the silver bullet they were played out to be. This has led to a greater use of real change management and business transformation techniques to be explored to unlock the potential of the Digital solutions. It remains to be seen whether the lessons learnt can be articulated and conveyed to other public and private sector organisations to avoid making the mistakes of investing in the technology without equal consideration being paid to the necessary business transformation with the organisation and its people.