In conversation with Sue Griffin: automating DWP

You are currently responsible for automating over 600k user administration tasks at DWP. What problems will this solve and how will it improve the services delivery?

We currently deal with over one million user admin requests in the department.  This is due to the size and complexity of the department in terms of job roles and the complex legacy system estate. These requests are currently processed manually at a cost of 85 FTE (or c. £3m in salary cost) per annum.  Automating some of these transactions could release a substantial number of FTE resource for redeployment into strategic priority areas such as increasing on-site support, coaching and Digital Upskilling; thereby driving our transformational agenda.

Outside of automation, what other technologies are you introducing to drive operational performance?

As part of our user support services we deliver support to our colleagues through several channels including telephone, on-line/self service, Apple-style Tech Bars and chat.  Like user admin our chat channel relies upon skilled technical colleagues to provide advice, guidance and support to our colleagues.  We are looking to use technologies such as ChatBot to automate some of this assistance.    We also have an ambitious rollout programme to deploy a modern digital workplace to all of our colleagues.  This includes modern 2-in-1 devices, Office 365 and collaborative tools to enable Digital and operational colleagues to be more productive to allow them to focus on citizen-facing activities.

As the Chair of DWP’s Women in Digital group, how do aim to attract more women into digital roles and provide opportunities for females to progress?

I am passionate about the role of Women in Digital. We have a vibrant community who share ideas/knowledge on LinkedIn and on Twitter. We work hard to get the image of working for DWP Digital right – which encourages more women to apply for roles. We set up a Digital Voices programme for existing women – a 12 week programme where they got support, mentoring, and coaching to become a confident female voice in a Digital organisation. I work with all our Heads of DDAT Professions to look at diversity and agree plans for what we need to do differently e.g. if we are bringing in external expertise/contractors ensure that resources put forward are diverse.

What will be your main priorities for the remainder of the year?

Key priorities are: Continuing to transform our support channels (e.g. through the use of ChatBots); Enabling the rollout of 30,000 new devices as part of a Digital Workplace delivery;  Launching an ambitious programme to up-skill all of our Operational colleagues to help them get the most out of their Digital products; building capability of Service Management professionals in DWP Digital (in my Head of Practice role); Making all DDAT professions in DWP Digital more diverse.

Sue Griffin is Head of User Support Services, at the Department for Work & Pensions, and will be speaking on reaping the rewards of robotic process Automation (RPA), at the Public Sector Solutions Expo on 20 November. To register or find out more, please click here.