Automatic for the people: using intelligent automation to ease contact with service users

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels
September 30, 2021
United Kingdom
Digital & technology

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During the pandemic, people’s need for government support and advice has skyrocketed, while social distancing rules have emptied civil service offices and closed over-the-counter services. So civil servants have had to handle far greater volumes of transactions through a reduced number of channels – putting huge pressure on front desks and call centres, while sharpening the need for digital services to be accessible, efficient and intuitive.

To meet this huge level of demand, government bodies have leaned heavily on a range of digital technologies including Robotic Process Automation (RPA): the use of algorithms – sometimes aided by artificial intelligence technologies – to manage repetitive, heavily-codified processes. By taking on basic administrative tasks, for example, ‘intelligent automation’ can dramatically shorten case handling times and reduce errors – speeding service delivery, while releasing staff to handle difficult cases and personal interactions. And today’s RPA technologies can also take more prominent roles in frontline services, smoothing the user journey: chatbots can ease access to online services, for example, while automating aspects of call centre operations can cut waiting times and improve citizens’ experiences

At this webinar, experts from Blue Prism – which has been making some of its services available to public bodies without charge during the pandemic – and other organisations profiled some of the ways in which RPA has been used to streamline interactions with the public since COVID-19 arrived. Providing useful information and practical advice for the civil servants managing public service delivery during the pandemic, the webinar also considered how RPA could support service transformation and improve the user experience over the years to come.


Aidan Hardy, Transition Team Delivery Manager, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK

Aidan first started at the MHRA in 1995 as a classifier and became a Delivery manager in 2005 and has since managed a variety of the teams in the Information Processing Unit. In 2016 MHRA started to investigate the possibility of an RPA solution to processing medicine licence applications and Aidan was chosen to work on this project. He worked with Blue Prism to run through the MHRA processes, where to access the data and how this should be added to the bespoke database used by MHRA.

Dimple Davdra, Change Control Officer, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), UK

Dimple Davdra is an Information Processing Unit (IPU) Continuous Improvement Officer (Senior Executive) at Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) where they enhance and improve the health of millions of people everyday through the effective regulation of medicines and medical devices, underpinned by science and research. Dimple is responsible for controlling the units procedures and for the delivery of the unit’s process review function, providing a constant drive to improve performance, quality and maximise efficiency within the unit. She plays an important role in the change control process in IPU, quality monitoring and in the coordination of staff training and cross skilling. She has been leading the RPA process and looking into ways to enhance to process.

James Mitchell, Global SVP People, Blue Prism

James brings over 25 years of experience of transformational leadership across people functions from HR Business Partnering, Training, Recruiting, Engagement & Experience, Technology & Operations, Communications and CSR.

At Blue Prism James is responsible for all People functions and Workspaces around the globe. He is passionate about the role of automation in re-creating the future of work as well as within the People function, most recently helping the organisation achieve Great Places to Work recognition in UK, USA, Singapore, Japan and Australia. Prior to Blue Prism, James supported in multiple roles at Rackspace Technology which grew from 2,500 to 6,500 globally and from 8 to over 50 geographical locations. Designing award winning onboarding and leadership programs, as well as numerous speaking engagements, he was also part of the leadership team responsible for their expansion into India and build out of the customer & operational hub and HR team. James previously founded and ran a global performance consultancy focussed on working with clients in Professional Services, Retail, Financial, Media, Technology and local government, to improve organizational performance through transformation related projects and programs.

Philip Sheen, Head of Public Sector UK&I, Blue Prism

With over 15 years’ experience of engaging with the UK Public Sector across IT, Telco and Consulting services; Philip is passionate about what Blue Prism has to offer and how the UK Public Sector can engage with Blue Prism to optimize their way of working. He is focused on driving savings from across the Public Sector, enabling organizations to deliver the best outcomes possible, whilst putting people at the heart of the intelligent automation agenda.

Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.