A Force for Good: How Digital Transformation is Changing Lives in The UK
It’s no secret that the UK public sector is undergoing a journey of digital transformation. In the process, citizens are experiencing faster and more meaningful interactions with their local authorities.
But digital transformation is also responsible for some progress that’s not quite as evident, but is potentially far more meaningful. In the face of lingering issues like the Syrian refugee crisis and siloed governmental departments, the UK public sector is uniting to slowly but surely improve collaboration between colleagues, departments and entire county councils.
The Positive Power of Collaboration
Out of the many benefits local councils reap by going digital, the power to collaborate internally and externally is often overlooked.
In the case of Syrian refugee crisis, the power of collaboration has been highlighted by public sector workers.
Local councils from across the UK are collaborating on platforms like Knowledge Hub, the UK’s leading digital collaboration space for the public sector. The platform gives members the ability to exchange knowledge through document sharing, blog posts and forum posts, thus facilitating collaboration and understanding across social, organisational and even geographical boundaries.
Numerous Syrian refugee related Knowledge Hub groups have also been used to share best practice tips, form templates and guidance on subjects as diverse as ESOL funding, data collection, hate crime awareness, forced marriage and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
Knowledge Hub is in the process of upgrading to Liferay DXP in order to streamline their service and mimic many of the features public sector entities like Bristol City County Council enjoy thanks to the Liferay platform — including features that allow for digitized business processes, easily managed workflows and user-based personalisation.
According to Liz Copeland, Head of Customer Insight & Engagement at Knowledge Hub, their vision is to bring local governments together in a constructive way:
“Knowledge Hub's vision is to provide every public servant in the UK a place where they can network and collaborate online, build communities of interest and explore new ways to address the issues that really matter in the daily running of government,” she told Liferay.
And rather beautifully, we’re starting to see Knowledge Hub’s vision become a reality on the ground for Syrian refugees in the UK.
The Driving Force of Knowledge Hub
Working within the lines of schemes such as the Gateway protection programme, local councils have come together via numerous Knowledge Hub groups to collaborate and coordinate social change for the elderly, vulnerable and those looking for refuge within the UK.
The COSLA KHub group, started in Scottish public sector, is home to 205 members, who have a large store of documents, regular, frequent forum posts and events organised on their group calendar.
The Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme KHub Group has 148 members and functions in a similar way.
Both of the aforementioned Knowledge Hub groups — alongside the many other Syrian refugee related groups that exist on the platform — see daily contributions from participants.
The groups boast members from Aberdeenshire Council in Scotland to Barnet Council in London, and they serve up useful resource to keep everyone updated on recent developments, and of course, a chance to discuss them with like-minded public servants from across the UK.
With these digital collaboration strategies in place, success stories are beginning to emerge from an array of governmental sectors.
The Tell Us Once Knowledge Hub group for example, has seen steady success since its launch in 2012, as Michael Murphy of the Tell Us Once Delivery Partnerships Team at the Department for Work and Pensions reveals:
“The Tell Us Once Knowledge Hub Community is expanding and evolving every week. [Much of our] training material has been saved onto the TUO Knowledge Hub Community, and we have received some positive feedback advising that it’s great to have access to TUO products all in one place. Comments also focussed on our ideas forum ‘Tips and wrinkles’, where members found a useful place to discuss hot topics and share experiences and best practice.”
Other groups, like the Concessionary Travel (England) group led by the Department for Transport provides an environment for local authorities to come together with stakeholders in order to discuss complex policy areas.
Lead facilitator Robert Johnson says, “The Concessionary Travel (England) group helps us to make better use of our resources, spending much less time responding to enquiries from local authorities than we would likely do without it. It’s a good way of reaching a particular group of people to bounce ideas off, and to discuss changes in policy and other big topics. It’s like a ‘soft’ consultation tool.”
Digital Transformation Now Plays a Key Role in The Syrian Refugee Crisis
On top of helping local governments deliver simpler, more engaging customer experiences, the ongoing digital transformation process is also aiding the public sector in its effort to save vulnerable Syrians from difficulty.
Not only is this thanks to the adoption of external collaboration platforms like Knowledge Hub, but it’s also down to enhanced internal collaboration, integrations and document management features that digitally powered councils are leveraging.
The good news is, 66.2% percent of surveyed UK public sector organisations report that they have these digital strategies in place, so the future of the public sector has never looked more streamlined.
Are you looking to put your public sector organisation in a better position to change people’s lives in the UK? Check out the free Liferay whitepaper, Digital Transformation in the Public Sector to see how going digital can help.