About this good practice
The Digitalisation unit within the IT and Development Department is responsible for the implementation of the Digital Renewal Programme and the development of the city’s e-services. The work always begins with an analysis of the current situation. Often routines/workflows need to be changed to be optimized. The service can be internal for employees or external for citizens.
The aim of the Programme is to improve services and streamline operations by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation – reviewing current working methods and seeing how to change and improve them with the help of other ways of thinking, methods and technology (e.g. access to Wi-Fi, new solutions for business systems, replacing forms, binders and papers with digital solutions and services to automate all or parts of processes).
If a new e-service is needed, the given department needs to send a request to the team, including the present situation, the customer's needs and the goals/expectations. When the request comes in, the multi-disciplinary group contacts the department – they investigate the conditions and resources. Development requires time and commitment from the administrators and also means that information needs to be created or changed on (among other things) the website.
The final e-service is owned by the department – for updates and revisions, they are required to contact Digital Renewal again.
The Digital Renewal Programme is centrally financed (500,000€/year) so the departments do not pay for the support (unless in case of specific initiatives with their own budget). Funding is also provided by overhead from services provided by the IT department (e.g. servers).
Evidence of success
In four years (between 2016 and 2020), the team has been involved in 150-200 processes: in most cases, the results of these include some kind of an e-service but also many other forms of solutions/actions (which can be everything from stopping doing something to information, FAQs, etc.); e-service is not the goal, but to improve the customer experience and the organisation.
Potential for learning or transfer
One of the advantages of using e-services is that it allows easy communication between the agent and the customer. The quality of incoming cases is often also higher because incomplete and inaccurate information can be avoided. The process will also be more or less paperless. All in all, this means that processing times can often be shortened, and the service becomes more efficient.
Another success factor is that the city works to understand the problem/challenge from the perspective of the customers, residents or employees, using service design as a method/mindset. They try to avoid making a process digital just for the sake of it, asking themselves what added value this would create. A lot of it is about finding and removing unnecessary steps and finding smarter solutions (not always digital).
Tartu - another partner in the project - has already created a similar team within their municipality based on insights from the Gävle team.