Last month, a high-level roundtable discussion took place exploring how data can improve the user experience, result in better information sharing, decision making and even saving lives. We hosted these events in both Manchester and London and were joined by a rich mixture of individuals from different government and the public sector organisations.

The core objective was to exchange insight, experiences and best practice on ways that the smarter use of data can positively impact the future of public services.

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Some of our key speakers included Stuart Laws, Innovation-Ideas Management at the Ministry of Defence, Mandy Griffin, Managing Director at Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Michael Hansford, Asset & Performance Team Leader at Dorset Council and Derek Crabtree, ICT Support Manager at London Borough of Merton.

Participants contributed to a combination of themes around the challenges and opportunities to working with data, the issues around its storage, access and gaining visibility into the digital workspace. Conversations ensued around the limitations that arise from a lack of interoperability, the inability to share data and government’s plans for working with data to improve processes for faster, more transparent processes.

So, what were the key takeaways of the discussion?

GDPR, Data Breaches and Security

Derek Crabtree from London Borough of Merton shared a collection of fascinating stories into his experiences into how problematic the issue of data sharing can be in the educational space. He talked about how the spotlight on GDPR and the ways that data is used (or can easily be misused) has presented a deluge of challenges that need to be overcome.

And, as the public sector hold large amounts of sensitive data, often related to very vulnerable people, such as pupils, it’s all the more important to ensure the data being stored is stored well, and only accessible and visible to the right people.

With increasing levels of data, there is a clear and urgent need for robust systems to cope with volume and ensure secure data protection, eliminating human error.

Getting Proactive - Earlier Intervention Leads to Future Savings

Michael Hansford from Dorset Council demonstrated the importance of using data in forward-thinking ways and how early intervention can lead to future savings. The ability to perform sophisticated measuring, reporting and analytics is critical for every organisation. Processing timely data and the proper reporting and analytic capabilities means organisations can make more informed, evidence-based decisions.

Hansford highlighted that smart working needs to be about being proactive, not reactive. Monitoring and measuring data with regards to road safety has enabled his team to get ahead of potential road problems and quickly address them. Once data visibility is improved, savings in resources, services (and lives) will be made.

Hansford also identified a key learning about the importance of ensuring that all staff realised the value of data. He evidenced that, whilst most of the data gathering work carried out by his team has led to vastly improved roads in Dorset, an anomaly had arisen that brought to light that every staff member must recognise the importance of measuring and storing data accurately. 

How Data Powers Patient Care

Mandy Griffin discussed how Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust is making data count and how that involves partnering with the private sector, being open to change and growing in digital maturity. She talked about the importance of supporting clinical teams to make better decisions to improve patient care, shared recent achievements and told us how, with data, every organisation can be in a position to help colleagues and their patients have ‘better days’. Lastly, she talked about the Trust’s future ambition to turn to robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to help them deliver outstanding, compassionate care to the communities they serve by providing the right care, at the right time, at the right place.

Smarter Working – The Importance of the Digital Workspace

Our own Mike Patchett, Head of Public Sector at Lakeside Software, shared some key insight into the government’s drive for smarter working, and the importance of technology being smarter, intelligent and fast. He talked around how Lakeside’s specialism in gathering data to enable systems to work well for staff can drive a step change in government and public sector organisations.

Our roundtable discussion was deeply engaging and interactive. Everyone had data-related stories to share, whether from within their organisation or personally and all individuals (who spanned across healthcare, local government, education and central government) expressed how gaining deep insights from data can radically support the workforce, the customer/citizen and staff experience and improve public services.

To conclude, Mike Patchett stressed that all decision making must be derived from accurate and real time insight—rather than guesswork! With visibility into the digital workspace, end user problems, security risks, loopholes and all other vulnerabilities can be detected and immediately dealt with. It was a great learning exchange workshop and we hope to hold more in the future. If you’re interested in hearing more about the ground-breaking technologies that can support your organisation, contact us today.

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