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.”