EY with the Scottish Government

Performance Improvement in the Public Sector

In Scotland, EY strengths in intelligent automation (IA) are helping to transform the delivery of government services. In 2017, the Scottish Government set out a vision to ensure that the country achieves international recognition as a vibrant, inclusive, greener, open and outward-looking digital nation. Not only did the advent of the pandemic make this vision more compelling, it also dramatically changed the way it would become a reality – as it became clear that governments needed to act fast to transform digital aspirations into tangible results.

To govern effectively in a post-pandemic world, the Scottish Government recognised the need to digitise, automate and transform its operating models with support from partners in the private sector, the voluntary sector and across government. In response, it turned to EY to guide it along its digital journey, starting with the construction of an Automation Centre of Excellence (ACoE) to spearhead the digitisation of government services.

The ACoE enables Scottish Government employees to switch their attention away from repetitive, time-consuming tasks to high-skill, creative tasks that will drive growth and improve performance across Scotland’s public sector. The scale and complexity of this transformation presented numerous challenges. There was some initial resistance from the business team, who were reluctant to change the way they had always worked. Budget constraints and cost management across the Scottish Government also proved challenging, with 50% of services identifying team capacity as a limiting factor to service delivery.

However, the combination of clear communication and exemplary teamwork has given employees the confidence to embrace the new world of IA. Our delivery strategy was based around three principles:

  • Humans at centre – a fully integrated EY-Scottish Government project team and end-to-end service design with process improvement and the end user experience at the front.
  • Technology at speed – delivered on the Scottish Government’s strategic priority of cloud computing to enable it to scale up its automation capacity elastically to meet bursts in demand.
  • Innovation at scale – our multi-disciplinary discovery teams worked with the business teams to understand processes, focusing on the input and required outcome for each one to innovate simpler and more efficient future state processes empowered by automation.

The ACoE has made a significant difference to the way the Scottish Government delivers services to the public. In just over a year, it has automated 25 business processes using multiple disruptive technologies. These automations have processed over 132,000 transactions, whilst achieving a 99% automation accuracy rate. There are hundreds more automation opportunities in the pipeline and currently going through the build process. The ACoE has also delivered important financial benefits, generating £1.6m in operational savings and achieving a return on investment (ROI) within 15 months.

Meanwhile, the ACoE continues to deliver financial and performance improvements by freeing Scottish Government staff from repetitive, time-consuming tasks to focus on the high-skill, creative tasks that speed delivery and improve lives. Ultimately, those who are benefitting most from the Scottish Government’s digital revolution are the people and communities of Scotland.

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