5 Local Government Tech Predictions for 2023
2022 was a huge year for local government in the UK and digital transformation – but where do we go from here?
Our CEO Suraj Kika sat down with TechUK for their future gazing podcast to discuss the state of local digital public services and what’s in store for 2023.
Suraj shared valuable insights about the challenges local government faces and how technology can play a part in a more sustainable future for local public services. Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud.
In our 22 years as a team working with local authorities, we have seen trends come and go. But now more than ever we are beginning to see trends emerge in procurement and delivery of technology in response to multiple global crises that have spanned the last three years.
Here are the top 5 predictions for 2023 from the podcast.
1. Accessibility will continue to be a priority
This will not come as a surprise to many delivering digital services, but accessibility laws both in the UK and now rapidly in the US will continue to change, and organisations need to be proactive and adapt to legislation and guidelines.
We’ve recently seen in the US, a bill is being introduced that will penalise companies that don’t prioritise accessibility. Not just with their websites, but web applications as well - a huge development.
Whilst businesses in the UK have not yet been successfully taken to court under the Equality Act 2010, as accessibility laws continue to change, it is possible that we will start to see businesses being taken to court, or named and shamed by the Central Digital and Data Office, as we have seen in the US, where the number of successful lawsuits are growing rapidly.
Needless to say, the web is about inclusion and digital public services should be designed with accessibility as a key user need, particularly with WCAG 2.2 quickly approaching.
2. Self-service will become EVEN more essential
Citizens no longer just ‘want’ access to digital services quickly using easy-to-use tools - they expect to- and need to. Self-service should no longer be a ‘nice to have’ feature for local authorities and their digital platforms, it is now the expectation.
To put this into better context, as Suraj says in the podcast, “Imagine if Amazon had a contact centre to process all of their orders? It would be unconscionable, it wouldn’t scale... and the business just wouldn’t work”.
The focus will be on good service design in making smarter services, end-to-end, to reduce failure demand and take the cost out of delivering properly integrated services.
3. Budgets will be smaller
As we are seeing across multiple sectors, budgets are getting tighter and the public sector is unfortunately, no exception. Moreover, public services are facing unprecedented funding gaps.
“Right now, we are looking at the beginning of significant financial constraints with inflation and the cost of living at an all time high...and I don’t think that’s going to stop in 2023”, Suraj says.
“Budgets are going to become seriously constrained for local government and I think local authorities and technology leaders need to start looking at smarter ways of delivering digital services”.
4. In-house development has become too expensive, and low-code investment will increase
The availability of digital skills in the UK is currently at an all-time low, hiring the right candidates is becoming more expensive and in seriously high demand.
For technology companies in the UK it has become increasingly difficult to hire developers. For local authorities, who are competing with technology companies, they will find it even more difficult to secure the right candidates.
Technology companies (including Jadu), have the ability to change their business model and hire globally as Suraj points out – however local authorities will struggle to do so. In-house development skills are simply too expensive and in high demand. We predict that investment in low-code will seriously begin to ramp up in response to this as digital teams begin to pivot to leveraging business analysis skills and service design to meet users needs.
For further advice in implementing low-code platforms, feel free to contact us.
5. Automation and integration
Councils moving into 2023 will need to be smarter about what they invest in, in terms of automation and integration.
It’s not just about robotic process automation, although RPA is an important toolset where integration isn't easy or possible. It’s also about how local councils can get their teams working on smarter projects and leave monotonous, legacy tasks such as data entry to automation.
Beyond how it will ultimately cut costs and benefit staff members, automation will also play a key role in better digital experiences for their citizens where they are kept in the loop and expectations are met.
Listen to TechUK’s SoundCloud podcast in full.