New ways of providing social support through process automation
In the labour and social services administration, the Trelleborg municipality uses the help of a case handler program to automate certain parts of processes that concern for example processing of financial assistance. The result is less administration and more time for core services.
Automating routine work leads to a more efficient and citizen-friendly service. Employees at the labour and social services can instead use the freed up time to support the citizen. In this way, we can get more people to become economically independent, enter the labor market as well as live as independently as possible.
In 2015, the municipality of Trelleborg was the first to introduce an e-service for supply social and economic support, which led to increased accessibility for the individual citizen and a more efficient way of working for the civil servants. The next step was to automate the processing of digital applications. For the citizen, this means a legally secure and timely handling of your case. For the municipality, it means that they can spend more time and resources on helping citizens to establish themselves in the labor market. The social administration has begun its process of automation by letting a case handler program perform certain administrative tasks. The process of calculating home care fees has been automated and more processes are under way. More and more people in society need public services support. By automating parts of the work, Trelleborg can work as legally secure as before, while allowing to free up time that can be used to support the citizens.
In 2015, the municipality of Trelleborg was the first Swedish municipality to digitalize the administration of social benefits for the purpose of increasing user accessibility and legal certainty for citizens. In 2016 75% of all applications for social benefits were received through the internet, all received a decision within 1 business day. The work led to total accessibility for the individual citizen, legal certainty and a more effective working method - fully in line with Swedish administrative law; fast, easy and cheap. In 2016 Trelleborg took the first step towards automation. A case handler was programmed. In the future even more complex tasks could be performed automatically when the case handler program is taught and developed with the help of artificial intelligence.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Trelleborg municipality has worked persistently during at least ten years for a modernised view of social and economic assistance despite great resistance in the early stages. This is basically a new way of looking at the entire area of activity, the relationship between the municipality and the citizens who need financial support, which led to an efficiency improvement, where 90 percent of the processing times were cut off.
What is the current status of your innovation?
The municipality of Trelleborg with the support of Vinnova and, together with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, implemented a development program for 14 municipalities that have shown great interest in Trelleborg's work and approaches in matters relating to the labour market, economic assistance and reception of refugees. The objective is that in March 2018 the 14 municipalities will have found its own way of working with the Trelleborg model as a basis. Through solid work with the needs of the target group (quick decision, a desire for less paper administration and a management where users can decide themselves when and where to submit the application), a digital solution has been developed, which today is used by just over 70% of all who apply for social benefits in Trelleborg municipality.
Collaborations & Partnerships
Trelleborg is now in partnership with the National innovation agency Vinnova and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions spreading the innovation throughout Sweden to other municipalities.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
In the social welfare world, this is more than a paradigm shift. For we will bring more time and resources to the work that matters, such as the work with the individual citizen to accelerate the establishment of work and social life. For the citizen it implies legal and prompt handling. For Sweden it will mean a changed vision of citizens based on the fact that they want and can take responsibility. The solution has made it possible to shorten the case handling times time for people who are in economically vulnerable situations from 10 days to 1 day. All decisions on financial assistance are decided within 24 hours.
Challenges and Failures
The main challenges relate to innovation leadership skills and change management. Trelleborg is now disseminating learning around these themes with municipalities around Sweden.
Conditions for Success
- Change management.
- Personal values and motivation.
- A focus on the users’ needs.
Programmed process automation can be used in many fields of public administration.
Technology was not the focus of change, but the focus was better service to the inhabitants of Trelleborg. Technology became an important enabler, and the tech opportunities are now actively explored, while in parallel working with change management.