Tangible change is finally starting, as the States' public service reform continues.
Alongside the island's private IT partner, Agilysis, the States' Chief Executive Paul Whitfield yesterday launched SMART Guernsey, a piece of technology which aims to make doing day-to-day tasks easier, more accessible, and faster, by putting them online.
This is the key aim of the public service reform which has been ongoing for years now - to put all of the States of Guernsey's services online. The government signed a £200million contract with private firm Agilisys last year to bring the business on board and help make that transformation.
That will all happen under the brand SMART Guernsey brand - which will be the name of the platform all of these new services are delivered on.
Pictured: Why are the States reforming public services? Because of the potential savings it can make in efficiencies. The £200m figure is less than the States currently spend on this area - so if Agylisis can deliver the new services for less, they will be saving money.
It will use developments in a range of technologies, including cloud computing, data science, robotics and the latest IT software, to improve how services are delivered. The States said it was aiming to be the best public service of any small jurisdiction.
What has changed?
What will change?
"This programme is ambitious but it is right to aim high if we’re going to deliver transformation and the ambitions of public service reform," Paul Whitfield, Chief Executive of the States, said. "I want the experience of using public services to be quick, easy and hassle-free. I want our service users to know our teams are putting them first. I want to do that in as efficient and cost-effective a way as possible."
Pictured: SMART Guernsey launched yesterday, with Paul Whitfield speaking at the Chamber of Commerce monthly lunch.
As well as improving the quality of services and the ease in which islanders can access them, the changes delivered through SMART Guernsey will bring efficiencies. With the ageing demographic already increasing demand for public services, there are significant cost pressures facing the government and without efficiencies, the costs to the island will be higher still.
Some of the first trials to take place as part of SMART Guernsey have begun, including the piloting of digital medical certificates, a new system for submitting corporate tax returns will be launched before the end of the month. The programme is looking at opportunities for new and improved services in a range of public service areas that will bring the most significant benefits.
Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce monthly lunch, which hosted the launch of the new scheme, Richard Hanrahan, Chief Executive Agilisys Guernsey, said: "Technology is unlocking opportunities for innovation and efficiency on a previously unimaginable scale. For Agilisys’ ten-year partnership with the States of Guernsey, this means a huge opportunity to drive change, enable digital innovation and improve public services. There’s lots to do, and work is well underway. We’re confident that, in the coming months and years, Islanders will really feel the improvements SMART Guernsey will bring."
Pictured top: Paul Whitfield and Richard Hanrahan.