Big changes are under way across Europe as governments task their welfare and employment agencies to think differently about how benefits are provided. Transformational reform is the only way that the welfare state can survive in the face of rising unemployment insurance spending and unsustainable deficits.

This enabling reform has three distinct strands: policy reform, structural change, and technology innovation.

In the area of policy reform we’re seeing governments responding to the changing demographic of an aging population in a number of ways. In the UK, for example, eligibility for state pension will be equalized at age 66 for men and women by 2020 and then increased to 67 years by 2028. Elsewhere, early retirement schemes have been withdrawn in Hungary and limited in Denmark, UK, Austria, Finland and Spain.

Structural change is another response to the extraordinary pressures on the welfare state. In France, for example, multiple agencies have been consolidated to form Pôle emploi, the reemployment and benefits agency. This consolidation is designed to address silo’d (and costly) ways of working between different agencies and create a coordinated, more efficient welfare administration.

The third strand of welfare reform comes in the shape of new technology. I’m particularly excited at the potential for technology-enabled automation in welfare administration as Capgemini launches its EnablesWel solution. This is clever stuff. By automating repeatable processes EnablesWel can settle 95%-98% of all standard claims automatically – for example this will enable what previously involved a phone call or face to face meeting to become a simple and efficient online transaction. Now updates to family status (new birth or address) or other administrative a tasks can be managed and completed in a matter of minutes!  Impressive isn’t it?

It’s built on a combination of Oracle and Prosodie-Capgemini technologies and is going to make a massive difference to ways of working. For example, it allows real-time processing of citizen interactions and will free up agency staff to deal with complex cases.

I’ll be talking more about EnablesWel and how it provides a 360° view of citizens across multiple channels on Expert Connect, Capgemini’s online panel of experts that I’ve just been invited to join.

Find out more by downloading the EnablesWel – Enabling Welfare Transformation interactive brochure.