Durham County Council

Piloting Projects and Developing a Centre of Excellence

Local Government

Durham County Council (Durham) were looking to embark on a council-wide digital transformation, in order to increase the efficiency of their services and positively impact the lives of local citizens.

With T-Impact’s expertise in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) delivery and UiPath’s world leading RPA software, Durham were able to establish their Centre of Excellence (CoE).

Working with T-Impact, they assessed the RPA vendors and selected UiPath as the best solution for their needs. They then deployed an internal team, which was trained and mentored in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) development. This team worked closely with T-Impact to deliver four robots, proving both capability and a solid return-on-investment.

THE CHALLENGE

Durham County Council knew robotics could improve productivity, helping them deliver services at a lower cost to taxpayers, but they were concerned their transaction volumes would not justify an investment in RPA. They had identified a number of repetitive tasks in the organisation, but lacked the internal expertise to:

1 – Select the best RPA tool,

2 – Quantify the business benefits and calculate the expected Return on Investment and

3- Design & build a robot to trial the automation and prove the benefits.

They turned to T-Impact to help them.

Achieving the Vision

Durham awarded two projects to T-Impact.

T-Impact conducted an assessment of RPA vendors to select the one which best met Durham County Council’s current and envisioned needs. Leveraging their industry knowledge and experience, combined with vendor interviews, T-Impact provided the analysis which enabled Durham’s technical and procurement team to ensure a suitable commercial, technical and capability match.

T-Impact then worked to transfer skills, knowledge and practical experience into the Durham CoE team. Four RPA projects were selected.

1- Notification of Services for social workers – streamlining a paper-heavy process

2- Automate Rent Increases across housing solution providers – automating work which required redeployment of an entire department’s staff but still took too long

3 – Customer database cleansing – removing duplicates using a rules-based approach

4 – Post creation for HR – streamlining responses to internal vacancy applications

These process work flows were selected because the efficiency targets were easy to measure and the cost reductions, would be felt across the entire organisation.

The projects were delivered using T-Impact’s 3-phase skills transfer approach. T-Impact delivered the first project, while training Durham’s CoE staff. T-Impact and Durham staff then worked side-by-side to deliver projects. Finally, Durham’s staff delivered projects and T-Impact performed quality assurance and support. At the end of this engagement, Durham County Council’s CoE staff had more than knowledge, they had practical experience and the confidence that they could take on ever more challenging RPA projects with only occasional support from T-Impact.

Since this initial project, Durham County Council identified a further six areas where RPA could be deployed, in order to achieve their vision of a brighter future, using RPA to continously develop and improve their services for their constituents.

Benefits

Confidence in their RPA technology

  • Full market review conducted in order to understand the value of RPA in Local Government
  • Clear audit of all Robotics providers in order to identify UiPath as optimum solution

Enhanced Customer Service

  • Range of services expanded due to digital capabilities
  • Staff freed to focus on front-end operations to add value and fulfil customer requirements

Improve delivery quality

  • Eliminate data entry errors & reduce quality assurance and rework
  • Complete tasks in designated time frame – improving accuracy of financial planning & analysis

Internal Capability

  • Internal Centre of Excellence established to manage future RPA developments.
  • Six more areas for RPA identified following successful pilot