COVID-19 series: making the most of positive change in local government

The outbreak of COVID-19 prompted local authorities to make major organisational changes quickly. However, much of this transformation has been positive, resulting in modernised processes and offering employees a new level of flexibility. As such, it is important that the sector builds on the changes that have been made by adopting an attitude of continuous improvement.

Going digital

The rollout of digital processes has been a key focus of transformation in recent months. Without technologies such as the Cloud, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for employees to successfully carry out their roles remotely.

Many local authorities were still following more traditional ways of working before the pandemic. Consequently, this digital shift has led to a cultural rethink.

Reassessing processes

Face-to-face meetings have always been a core part of the way local authorities function, but during the pandemic this has had to change.

The need to engage differently with communities has allowed traditional processes to be improved. There are a host of services, such as birth and death registrations, that can be effectively delivered online. In fact, a digital approach to daily business has the potential to increase productivity and efficiency.

Staying flexible

Remote working has been proven to be viable for the long-term. With the right technology, employees can work just as effectively as if they were in the office. Flexibility can also improve work-life balance, by allowing employees to work at times that suit them.

Continuous improvement

Now that we are entering the ‘new normal’, it is time for local authorities to assess the systems they introduced at the start of lockdown. Although they may have provided a temporary solution, these technologies might not fit with the organisation’s long-term strategy. Change management and transformation experts can help to identify areas for improvement and suggest alternative options.

Employees must also be involved in this transformation process to ensure new systems work for them, whether through questionnaires or regular meetings.

Local authorities must embrace this new agile and digital world, continuing to implement modern systems and processes that can benefit both local communities and employees.

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Published: Sep 22, 2020

By Peter Marsden

Principal Consultant

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