Whatever Brexit deal we end up with, it will have an impact on public sector institutions. For some, like central government departments, there will be major transitional work as responsibilities from the EU transfer back to the UK. That means an increase in workload for government departments.
To use one example: shipping. For VAT purposes, HMRC checks packages that come from outside the EU but not from within the EU. Brexit could mean the UK has to check EU packages as well. And HMRC will need to find the capacity to deal with the extra responsibility.
It’s the same with other departments within central government, from farming to border control. The public sector has to be efficient, innovative and in some cases transform itself completely to deal with the extra responsibilities that may come its way.
Brexit comes on the back of ten years of austerity. Central government departments have already made efficiencies. To deal with Brexit, they will need to make more cuts, invest further or find smarter ways of doing things. And that’s where the opportunity is.
Departments can transform not just front-end services but also ensure the end-to-end service is digitally enabled.
What can government do?
So how can central government departments better prepare themselves for Brexit?
- Breakdown the silos within departments. Cross collaborate with other teams and map out processes to see where digital transformation can happen.
- Platform strategy to solve their challenges in innovative ways by providing the tools and data for other teams, departments and even other organisations such as the voluntary sector to provide citizen-centric services. A great example of these are Government Digital Services’ Gov.UK Pay, Notify and Verify platform services.
- Be user-centred. Who are the customers and what do they need? Look at things from the user’s perspective.
- Take an Agile approach. Test and learn, using the feedback to improve. Deliver small improvements periodically so efficiencies are realised quicker and people are not waiting months to see value.
- As processes are put in place, identify what can be automated. Look at innovating and see how AI can improve processes further.
Regardless of how it plays out, Brexit is an opportunity for government institutions to assess their processes, think outside the box and build innovative solutions that allow them to deliver end-to-end digital services effectively.
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