The UK’s public sector landscape is going through a period of profound change, which is affecting both central and local government. Rapid technological advances in fields like digital, analytics, mobility, Internet of Things and cloud are enabling a paradigm shift in customer service and public sector service provision.
I believe the key to unlocking many of these opportunities is analytics. The excitement over analytics is not mine alone, it’s borne out by announcements like the £10 million funding for statistics and data to modernise the Office for National Statistics, projects we’re involved with, and my meetings with heads of departments from a range of organisations about new ideas.
To respond to widespread interest in analytics, and recognise its potential to open up new ways of working, my data science colleagues and I will be writing a series of blog posts to demystify this topic. We aim to share insights from business, technical, operations and skills perspectives.
Business issues that analytics can address
Clients usually ask me how they can use analytics to help improve customer service, and reduce time and money in areas like:
· Processing customer applications (for driving licences, passports, visas, benefits, funding for education etc.) and transactions such as tax returns.
· Predicting potential fraud in benefits, immigration, funding agencies/providers, Commissioning Service Units in health care, etc.
· Identifying troubled families, vulnerable adults and socially isolated people and taking proactive measures to improve outcomes.
· Identifying patient populations that need certain types of health care or services.
· Leveraging environmental data on maps, floods, weather, forests and waterways etc. to prevent potential disaster.
Analytics can help address these challenges and many more. However, the true power of analytics is the ability to mine business insights even when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. This is why we often don’t spend too much time asking clients to define their challenges; instead, we outline the most common challenges and suggest the best course of action for harnessing the power of data-driven analytics.
Assurance Scoring powered by data science and big data analytics
Capgemini’s Assurance Scoring is a useful way to address these challenges. It’s an approach that uses predictive analytics and data science to improve assurance in areas like processing customer applications and targeting government services. It allows straightforward transactions to be automated so that most resources – government service provision or compliance teams – can be focused on customers who represent risk. The right technological tools and data science techniques, combined with business change to streamline and automate processes, provide a more efficient way to handle workloads. The result is better, faster customer service and blocking of most criminal activity before it happens.
One of the most attractive aspects of the Assurance Scoring approach is that it leverages cutting-edge big data platforms that are open source, which means projects can be kickstarted with minimal technology expenditure.
Assurance Scoring in action: an example
Our Assurance Scoring brochure has more details about how this works in terms of processing customer applications. In this blog post, however, I’ll focus on a specific area of opportunity for local and central government: better targeting of health and social care.
Traditional risk assessment in councils and local government focuses on individuals and families who are known to have problems. Assurance Scoring, on the other hand, looks at the whole population using council services. This allows councils to identify residents who are not at risk of social isolation or of falling through the social support net, provides early warning of potential problems that would otherwise be missed, and also confirms needs that are already known.
Seeing connections in this way enables better coordination across support agencies, judicial and other services in a way that enables councils to anticipate and prevent problems. Some of our clients have saved millions of pounds through this approach.
You can start to explore insights from a prototype Assurance Scoring solution in as little as eight weeks, using technology frameworks and working with just a couple of data scientists to define your requirements. A full Assurance Scoring solution links the data insights to processing rules that trigger service providers to take early action. This is where you can drive big operational benefits, such as fewer emergency calls and care home admissions, the ability to target services to promote better wellbeing, and lower costs.
Find out more
I hope this overview has triggered some ideas about how your organisation could benefit from big data analytics. It’s an exciting area to be involved in from both a business and a technology point of view. Let me know if you’d like to discuss the opportunities for government.
If you’re a data scientist who’d like to join our growing team, please also get in touch as we’re recruiting for these roles: Big Data Engineer, Big Data Analytics Architect, Data Visualisation Analyst, Data Scientist.
You can also read Lee Brown’s blog for an overview of the UK’s Big Data Analytics team.