Using digital technology to streamline systems and bolster efficiency should be a top priority for all organisations, but how can the tech and digital sector support the public sector in achieving this?

As part of the national Recovery Roadmap program, the UK Tech Cluster Group hosted a series of roundtables based on how we can work to help the post-Covid recovery. Unsurprisingly, digital transformation ranked high amongst the topics of conversation.

In the sixth roundtable, the group discussed how we best support the UK public and higher education sectors to better understand how digital technology can enable increased productivity and be equipped with the trial solutions and knowledge to show the potential return on investment. 

Hosted by TechSAPRK’s very own Ben Shorrock, you can watch the full discussion here:

Developing Innovation

Covid-19 is the cause of many challenges for public services creating greater workloads than ever before, whilst forcing huge digital and cultural change on organisations. Our speakers highlighted a number of key issues; some are immediately obvious, but others, such as generating innovation, are longer-term and less imminently solvable. 

“One thing I’ve noticed is it’s much harder to produce serendipity in innovation. A lot of our projects start from bumping into someone on the way to the train station or similar. Without those accidental moments, it’s become harder and we have to work on it much more.”

Llewelyn Morgan, Head of Innovation, Oxfordshire County Council 

Improving comms

These issues have driven new thinking, allowing organisations to rise to the challenge and adapt to cultures which rely more on open communication and sharing learning. This change has started to uncover new opportunities and increase productivity in unexpected ways for public bodies.

“I think in Bristol there’s a silver lining which is a real strengthening of internal partnership. Local authorities are, almost by definition, big bureaucracies, with a lot of working parts. In my experience. over the last few months, a real feature has been more communication and strengthening working relationships “

Declan Murphy, Economic Development Projects Officer, Bristol City Council

New Opportunities

New opportunities have also arisen from public services being able to work closer with the private sector to develop new projects to overcome our immediate crisis. From delivering medicine via drones to helping hospitality businesses trade online, there are positives to be found in 2020 which will form the foundation for future growth. 

“The feedback from here is those [businesses] that have pivoted are doing extremely well. Lots of companies are serving people that are working from home and benefiting from it.

“I’d love to see more support specifically aimed at digital companies that work with our retailers, our hospitality companies etc. Spending a small amount with a local digital agency can make a massive difference to some of our more traditional businesses. 2020 has been a tough time but I think there’s a lot of positivity around as well.”

Claire Main, Economic Development Officer, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

To see highlights of the roundtable and read more about how tech can support us find the Recovery Roadmap Report here.

Main image credit: Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.