Worcestershire County Council, with OutSystems low-code development platform, launched a Digital by Default initiative to foster the swift, cost-effective and logical digital transformation of public sector organizations. Seeking to reduce costs and to provide better citizen services, Worcestershire County Council has transformed how it does business and will enable 100 percent of its services to be accessed online. Through its portals, apps, workflows and processes, the Council expects to save £2.8 million over three years, with a 442% return on investment.
Digital Government Offers Convenience, Speed and Cost-Reduction
Challenge - To cope with budget cuts while improving services to citizens, local businesses and organizations, UK local councils are delivering those services via digital channels. From health, education and social care to environmental and business services, today’s apps increase speed and accuracy and lower costs. However, traditional coding and application methods inhibit the rapid development, testing, deployment and management of apps.
To overcome these challenges, the Worcestershire County Council IT team decided that a low-code application development platform was necessary to achieve digital transformation at scale. The platform needed to:
- Be flexible and powerful to build self-service portals as well as back-office workflow and document management solutions.
- Provide cost-efficiencies, open source and proven technology to help assure the government and public that the investment would deliver the promised results and not go over budget.
- Replace slow, manual processes with apps that rapidly meet the needs of citizens, businesses, organizations and government by improving customer service and minimizing backlog.
"With Digital by Default as the direction we must move towards, we needed a low-code application and digital integration platform that was not only fast, but also robust, scalable and reliable. It is our job to provide the highest level of service to the public, and OutSystems helped us deliver excellence."
OutSystems Low-code Platform Meets Digital by Default Standards
Solution - The Worcestershire County Council IT team examined several low-code platform options, selecting OutSystems due to its innovative and open technology that:
- Makes it easy to create, deploy, iterate and manage the entire lifecycle of apps and processes.
- Enables seamless integration of the front-end website to the back-office systems.
- Empowers developers to rapidly acquire new skills, ensuring the Council’s IT team can successfully and efficiently operate well into the future.
- Reduces the time and cost of developing and managing apps, enabling the Council to deliver high-quality public services.
- Supports end users through apps that simplify their interaction with the Council, provide an effortless user experience, and can be accessed on any device, anywhere, anytime.
Other Council requirements that OutSystems satisfied included:
- Builds user-friendly applications
- Meets Digital by Default Standards:
- Cost effective, fully online and simple to use;
- Highly secure, agile and iterative;
- Robust analytics and performance data.
- Offers 100% mobility
- Entails minimal training effort for staff and no training for the public
- Ensures scalability of apps used simultaneously by thousands of employees, citizens and businesses
- Reduces the length and cost of system development and integration
"The decision to partner with OutSystems is a key transformational part of the Council’s goal of putting technology at the heart of our operating model. The partnership with OutSystems forms a key foundation to drive value for the residents of Worcestershire by delivering better end-to-end, lower-cost service."
OutSystems Enables App Sharing and Promotes Channel Shift
Results - Since adopting OutSystems, the Council now offers public services online that are convenient for citizens and businesses to access. The swift adoption by users demonstrates success, which is why the Council is increasing development of additional applications. With 53 apps built so far, the Council has already saved £1.6 million in less than one year.
In addition, the Council is publishing the apps it has built under an open-source license. This ensures all other local authorities can share and reuse these apps, enabling them to deliver digital government services far more quickly and at significantly lower cost. OutSystems also boosted the Council IT team’s productivity as well as enabled the team to provide a more consultative role in planning for future programs.
“Sharing information in a secure and easy-to-use solution for professionals across the public sector has been ground-breaking. It has laid the foundation for mobilizing an ambitious data-sharing capability across our partners that will transform how we collectively deliver vital services,” says Crump.
“These results are typical of the type of benefits citizens and businesses can experience using apps built on OutSystems and accessed through our website,” Crump says. “The platform has enabled our Digital Centre of Innovation team to transform the way services are accessed and delivered. The increased efficiency makes it possible for the Council to afford to offer high-quality services to the public, and we’re looking forward to bringing additional improvements to more areas.”
Examples of apps developed with OutSystems:
- The Council's Copy Certificates service was the first app to be built. The previous online system—used to request and pay for birth, death and marriage certificate copies—only worked properly half the time, requiring extra effort from both staff and customers. The new system, built on OutSystems, is quick and easy to use. It allows customers to securely and conveniently apply and pay for certificate copies online, and track the progress of their requests. Now, 70 percent of applications for certificate copies are made online, up from 40 percent.
- Adult learning course registration was improved. Previously, registering for adult classes could only be processed at libraries. This method hampered librarians from accomplishing their primary responsibilities and lacked the ability to predict demand for adult education classes, resulting in an excess or shortage of teaching staff and resources. The new system, built on OutSystems, works on any mobile device and enables users to quickly and easily search for classes by subject, location and date, as well as reserve and pay for courses online. In the first month, the app delivered a 71 percent increase in adults registering for classes. This was accompanied by an increase in the amount of time librarians can now devote to providing true library services. Also, courses are now offered only when there is sufficient demand, making the allocation of resources and staff more efficient.
- Multi-agency data-sharing yields massive benefits. An online portal has been developed to deliver a 'Single View of the Child,' which links social care and education systems so key information can be obtained to safeguard a child. This solution provides real-time information to appropriate professionals that outlines the support needed to help the child. Today, there are nearly 1,000 professionals within health, police, schools and private organizations using this safeguarding solution.