Accelerate your control room transformation: A citizen-centric approach
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Accelerate your control room transformation: A citizen-centric approach

Matt Albin, Bella Copland
Two British police men with high vis jackets Police written on their backs.

In the evolving landscape of technology, staying ahead, or at least keeping up with the curve, is vital. Citizens expect transparency, accessibility, and responsiveness from their public services, supported by the same technology they interact with in their day-to-day lives. The last three years have only increased these expectations, with police no longer being just a call away, but contactable via call, email, online form, webchat, or social media channel.

Existing online repositories of self-help information and lengthy, confusing digital experiences are not meeting the public’s needs. These miss the mark when it comes to providing low-cost early intervention and support, and create frustration for citizens and staff. The risk of continuing this status quo is the loss of public trust, a decline in citizen satisfaction, and the increased costs associated with delivering services across multiple channels, without
 saving benefits or positive citizen outcomes later down the line. 

In line with the National Policing Digital Strategy for 2030, the citizen-centric approach puts citizens at the centre of their services, streamlining interactions, collecting feedback in a continuous loop, and empowering them to be policing and safety service advocates in their local communities. This approach is centred around the citizen experience, using organisation, process, communications, technology, design, and data to deliver outcomes as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

With technology moving at lightning speed and demand for services increasing in volume and complexity, the need for digital transformation in Forces across the UK has never been more critical. We delivered our Citizen-Centric Maturity Assessment approach, in partnership with Microsoft, to accelerate the journey toward a more citizen-focused Control Room. In this blog post, we'll delve into the benefits of our approach, spotlight the quick wins that can set you on the right track, and outline a roadmap to digital transformation success.

The Citizen-Centric Contact Centre Assessment: A roadmap to transformation

Our Citizen-Centric Contact Centre Assessment is your compass for navigating the complex landscape of digital transformation. Developed in partnership with Microsoft, this assessment helps control rooms understand their current state, chart a path forward, and implement the right initiatives. Let's break it down:

  • Assess the as-is maturity: Our approach assesses the extent to which your force is delivering a citizen-centric approach across four key pillars that go beyond just technology. It provides a clear picture of your current status, offering valuable insights into what's working and where improvements are needed. 
  • Identify the desired state: The assessment defines a clear vision of what, or how, your control room should be. It sets achievable goals that align with your mission and values, ensuring that your transformation efforts are purpose-driven.
  • Action plan and solutions: Once your as-is and to-be states are established, we help you determine the actions, initiatives, and solutions needed to bridge the gap. This actionable plan is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
  • Recommended roadmap: The assessment also includes a recommended roadmap for implementing these solutions, prioritised based on a well-defined framework. This roadmap ensures that your transformation journey is efficient and effective, delivering value early and often–rather than through a ‘big bang’ approach that can take months to deliver any impact.

This assessment differs from the typical approach delivered by inspections, peer evaluations, or technical discoveries as it looks at the whole picture, rather than zeroing in on a specific pillar. This is because we have acknowledged that technical platform or tool challenges are rarely the fault of the technology, and more likely related to training, implementation, or skills. Additionally, our assessments highlight how blockers to change and transformation are rarely found in just one pillar. 

After conducting the Citizen-Centric Maturity Assessment across the country, we've refined our approach, empowering you to move faster. Instead of the typical six-week assessment, we've optimised it to conduct the core assessment in just three weeks, followed by three weeks dedicated to scoping and planning a Proof of Concept tailored to your force's needs. This acceleration means you can swiftly transition to implementation and start realising the benefits of your transformation initiatives. Below we have outlined, from our experience, the easy-to-implement but impactful ways in which you could move forward post assessment.


Quick wins and key steps to kickstart your transformation

We understand that the journey towards a fully citizen-centric control room can be daunting. To make this process more manageable, we recommend starting small and capitalising on quick wins:

Start small with proof of concepts

  • Streamline data handling: Introduce robotic process automation (RPA) to eliminate manual rekeying of information between systems (e.g. crime recording and call recording systems). This is a quick win that can free up valuable capacity. Microsoft Power Automate is a useful and easy-to-implement tool to support this. 

The use of easy-to-implement automation tools to streamline processes reduces the need for manual intervention, freeing up capacity for value-driven activities. A study found that time spent on repetitive tasks could be reduced by 40% through automation. 

  • Leverage AI for efficiency: Use AI to extract and analyse information from documents like Single Online Home web to email PDF forms. This automation streamlines data entry and supports downstream systems. Microsoft AI Builder enables this process to take place seamlessly. 
  • Simplify user interfaces: Implement simplified user interfaces to enhance data capture, presentation, and workflow execution. Tools like Microsoft Power Apps can help you achieve this with ease.

One of our assessment survey respondents reported the need for ... "a simplified user interface that links the multiple systems together to prevent duplication. Currently to check a person or vehicle records we require at least four different systems, entering that same data over and over again.“

Scale up proof of concept success

Once you've proven the benefits of these small initiatives, you can create a compelling business case for further investment. Let's look at an example: 

We know that the rekeying of information received via email and the Force call recording system takes approximately 30 minutes. If the Force receives 15 of these emails per day, that’s 7.5 hours of capacity per day. Scaling this up to 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, this equates to 2,730 hours per year. Assuming an ‘hour’ of capacity costs the Force approximately £20, this would equate to £54,600 per year. That sum, no longer utilised for a non-value-add task, could be better spent providing direct support to citizens and the community. 

Now, this is just one area of the Force. Imagine now that there are at least 3 or 4 areas in a Force that require rekeying, with some of those supporting volumes of 50-60 contacts per day. Immediately it can be seen how this small test for emails can create a tangible business case for further investment.

Address non-tech enablers

Remember, true digital transformation goes beyond technology. It’s important to understand the non-tech enablers that are blocking technological benefits. Successful digital transformation requires a combination of tech, data, people, and processes. 

A common challenge we encounter with forces is the need to redesign demand channels based on not just what citizens and communities want, but on how forces can best support demand. Whilst there may be an increase in social media use, it is not the right channel for reporting crimes–too much information is needed. Instead, a combination of processes, communications, and technology should be employed to route and signpost effectively, reducing inappropriate requests whilst ensuring demand reaches the right service, agency, or channel. 

One of our assessment survey respondents reported that “The general public do not seem to understand they are ringing a call handler and not an officer when they call a control room–there is little understanding about how we can help, but also how we can’t, and this eats up a lot of capacity.”

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Accelerate your control room transformation

As you plan your budget for the upcoming year, we invite you to reach out and explore how our assessment can accelerate your control room transformation. Together, we can create a safer, more efficient, and citizen-centric future for policing in the UK. Contact us today to get started on your journey toward a digitally transformed control room. Your community and officers will thank you for it.

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