Automation of workflows for authorities, the solution for letting bureaucracy go

As elections unfold all across Europe, amid Covid-19 pandemic, the urge to digitalize local and central administrations and to make significant leaps in facilitating online access is growing. While some steps have been made, there is still a full range of operations and services that could be significantly improved. When it comes to administrativ authorities, either local or central, there  are usually 2 major conflicting realities: a relatively small number of employees and a huge amount of tasks to be done.

Over the last years (with all their challenges), the gap between them has widenedturning social assistant into (just) clerks and minimizing the efficiency of sensitive law-abiding processes. Moreover, the financial toll it`s taking on local budgets especially, has determined upper management to search for fast, scalable and easy-to-use technology., RPA is one of the best option for unloading bureaucracy and saving the day.

Let`s take a round about look at eligible candidates for RPA-based solutions:  

1.Debt recovery  

 All councils have significant amounts of debt that is difficult to recoverPreviouslymost of debt was poorly pursued through lack of resource. For exampleBrent Council (UK) spent four months automating a series of four interlinking processesso that a robot automatically triggers debt letterstracks progress and then prompts follow-up actions based on resultsThis could mean either sending out another letter or passing the tenant to an officer to arrange a repayment plan. 

The automation has been incredibly successful as it has led to residents re-establishing contact with the council. The officers can provide a much better service and help really vulnerable residents to meet their financial commitments. In the worst case, it allows bad debt to be written off and removed from the books. 

2. Application for goods/services/grants 

When an application is receivedit’s checked for completenessIf there is missing information or incorrect detailsit’s returned to the lawyer or conveyancer who is asked to amend and resubmit the applicationThey usually have up to four weeks to complete this task or the application is cancelled. 

For example, HM Land Registry (UK)  sends out a standard reminder letter after three weeksThis involved a good deal of manual work and sometimes the reminder letter would be missedUsing UiPath,the team was able to create ‘Reggie’ the robot that automated the process so that no member of staff had to send out reminder letters. The new automation – the organization’s first – was developedtested and rolled out to the department’s 14 offices throughout England and Wales in less than two months.     

3.  Requests of information                          

Copenhagen is expanding rapidlyToday, more than 600,000 people are living and working in the city – an increase of almost 20% in just 10 years. As the population growsthe pressure to continually deliver high-quality service mounts on the Municipality. Doing more with less is essential for the council to meet citizen demand with limited resources. 

For example, the council has to respond quickly to requests for citizens who want to know exactly what information it holds on them. This is a very time-consuming process. It requires accessing multiple systems, consolidating information, redacting sensitive information, building a report and sending it to the citizen. 

This can take an employee up to 10 hours to complete the task and there is potential for error and omission. A robot reduces the time in half and provides highly accurate information. This automation is starting to be rolled out to all committees with one reporting that it alone has freed almost 8,500 hours per year – the equivalent of 6 full-time employees – to help meet the growing demand on its services. 

 4.Financial assistance services 

 In 2018, Strängnäs Municipality realized there was an increasing need to integrate its unemployed residents into the workplace. The social exclusion of these residents is a huge problem and the financial assistance they receive comes at a high cost to taxpayers. In order to achieve this goal, social workers would need to take a more active role during the entire process of finding permanent work for these residentsHoweverthe city didn’t have enough social workers and was not able to hire additional onesTherefore, it needed a more effective approach in order to save time. The city came to the conclusion that a large part of the financial assistance process could be automated.

 In August of the same yearthe last phase was completed and the entire process was implemented. The application process was digitalizedwhich automated the entire process of handling applications. The only exception was the decision on whether to grant the financial assistance in the first place, as this was required in order to comply with Swedish municipal law. 

 By automating boring, mundane tasks, the authorities can go back to serving the citizens by offering high-value consultancy, support and information. They can raise money more efficiently and then redirect them to those in need.  The potential for automation is very high and, when deployed with authorities, it can be beneficial for millions of taxpayers. More ideas of industry-based solutions, here: .