Loading

techUK | Collaboration for public safety outcomes

Executive summary

With growing citizen expectations and increasing demand, organisations are reengineering their approaches to provide improved citizen outcomes. Technology is a key enabling tool for collaboration within organisations and across the public services ecosystem.

This paper looks at some technology tools and trends that have the potential to transform public safety services, and highlights the role that culture, processes and procedures have in empowering technological solutions to facilitate collaboration.

It also provides recommendations on what local public service organisations can do to create the conditions and environment to make transformation a success. Technology is the easy part. For transformation to be meaningful, it must be supported by processes and procedures championed by senior leadership too. These recommendations are:

  1. Public safety organisations encouraged to sign up to the Local Digital Declaration
  2. Organisations that operate in public safety services undertake an audit of existing collaborative platforms to understand their current state of play and identify gaps.
  3. Organisations ought to take steps to identify what other localities have done and share best practice.
  4. Organisations that operate in public safety services should undertake an audit of what training has been done, and review to meet needs of staff and future proof the organisation.
  5. Local public safety services should be encouraged to engage with industry to interrogate the problem, understand the art of the possible, and validate ideas. techUK is well placed to host these market engagements.
  6. Public safety providers from across emergency services and local public services support industry efforts to deliver more interoperable solutions.
  7. As part of the audit, organisations should work to understand what data they hold, what they access and what the format and quality of that data is.
  8. Local public service organisations must identify key data partners with whom to first build strategic Data Sharing Agreements. This could start with a local focus and then be built out to work in conjunction with other regional and national level organisations.
  9. The ICO should support public sector organisations by working to demystify what the challenges to data sharing are in collaboration efforts for public safety and how they can be addressed.
  10. As technological changes are rolled out, organisations must equip end users with skills and training that will ensure their confidence in the technology and its benefits.

Foreword | Commissioner Ian Dyson

The increasing pace of technology advancement, like a new industrial revolution, brings with it fresh challenges and some important opportunities for policing. For example, the method by which crime can be committed has evolved, and so too must the policing response in order that we can continue to protect the public in the future.

Meanwhile, data volumes continue to grow, posing challenges to every business. Handling our data ethically and effectively sits at the heart of many opportunities for public services, and it must underpin all processes; it cannot be viewed as optional and must be at the forefront of technological advances, by design and default rather than as afterthought.

In this digital age, providing a policing service to the public in siloes will be far less effective. Now more than ever policing has an appetite to collaborate, and to stretch further than across force boundaries, looking outwards to include other partners such as local authorities and the private sector. Technology is a tool that can enable such collaboration, through interoperability and convergence. However, new technology can be a retrograde step if considered in isolation and as a standalone solution. Culture, leadership, people and processes need to be aligned to support and maximise the benefits that technology can provide to your business, whatever it may be, and policing is no exception.

Public services are facing new and increasing demand, whilst operating within a financially constrained environment where intelligent decisions are needed before spending public money. Getting the right technology tools in place and using them well is vital to provide greater efficiency and could be a route to alleviating some of the pressure on public services.

There is an onus on all involved in the implementation of new technology to ensure that it is fit for purpose, cost effective, and enables greater collaboration between policing and their partners. Working together, technology can be an effective enabler of better public service.

Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM, City of London Police

Chair of the Information Management & Operational Requirements Coordination Committee (IMORCC). National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC).

Introduction

Aim

Technology is instinctively designed to assist collaboration. Technology can enable seamless integration of services to improve quality of processes and outcomes. While a data enriched place can enable services to be more targeted to the needs of citizens. The pressures on local public services can’t be underestimated. With growing citizen expectations and increasing demand, organisations are reengineering their approaches to provide improved citizen outcomes.

This timely paper includes practical examples of how technology can improve public safety outcomes, as well as engender change and build capacity across the local area and place. It also provides recommendations on what local public service organisations can do to create the conditions and environment to make transformation a success. Technology is the easy part. For transformation to be meaningful it must be supported by processes and procedures championed by senior leadership too.

We hope leaders, not just digital leaders, will use the paper as a practical tool to drive transformation and understand what the art of the possible can be when it comes to multi-agency working.

Vision

techUK has a vision for collaborative working in the public sector, particularly for organisations involved in the delivery of public safety:

To have the UK public safety sector as a Digitally-enabled, joined-up system that brings local public services together to create places where citizens want to live, work and thrive - safely.
For data to be at the heart of decision making and have local data that is utilised confidently, breaking down silos and shifting to early intervention to manage demand better.

Turning this vision into reality is not a simple task. Modern digital technology trends have the potential to improve public safety service provision but cannot do so alone. They need to be supported by processes and procedures that build the technologies into business-as-usual. “Digital Technologies” and “Processes and Procedures” form the two key pillars that underpin the vision.

We are already seeing a growing trend towards a place-based approach which is helping to realise the opportunities of multi-agency working. techUK held a #PlaceBasedInnovation Week at the beginning of April 2019 with contributions from across industry and local public services that demonstrated the potential a place-based approach can have on improving local public safety and citizen outcomes. A place-based approach puts the citizen at the heart of the service, cutting across boundaries with a shared endeavour to improve outcomes for the people and place.

#PlaceBasedInnovation

This paper will explore these pillars to instil a common understanding of key technology trends and what supporting organisational structures are needed. It will provide a series of recommendations for organisations including local governments, police, fire and rescue, social care services or hospital and ambulance trusts and schools, looking to be part of a more collaborative approach to the delivery of public safety services.

Background

Evolution of collaborative working in public safety

Collaborative working has long been viewed as important for public safety agencies. Over the years, alongside deliberate innovation, there have been high profile cases, some tragic, that have emphasised the need for a more joined-up approach to public safety service delivery.

1974

The inception of the Police National Computer gave all UK forces access to a series of databases of relevant local and national information.

1985

The introduction of the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES system), a national system to improve information management for investigating major incidents.

2002

The Soham Murders lead to the Bichard Report.

2004

Bichard Report recommends that a national police intelligence system be set up.

2009

Laming Report is commissioned by HM Government following the ‘Baby P’ case. This report identified significant problems regarding day-to-day information sharing between different agencies to protect children. Lord Laming wrote that “the laws governing data protection and privacy are still not well understood by frontline staff or their managers. It is clear that different agencies (and their legal advisers) often take different approaches.”

2010

The Police National Database (PND) went live.

2017

Report ‘Attacks in London and Manchester between March and June 2017,’ highlights shortcomings in the way the security service and the police work together and share intelligence with local police forces and local authorities.

2018

Review conducted by Lord Carter, Operational productivity and performance in NHS England Ambulance Trusts: Unwarranted Variations, calls for a “renewed emphasis on technological innovation”, stating that “new technology is not adopted rapidly across the service and this, plus the weakness identified in the control centre infrastructure, must be addressed. Ambulance services need to plan for tomorrow’s service today and develop robust plans to rapidly improve the resilience of the infrastructure.”

2018

Launch of the Local Digital Declaration - a joint endeavour initiated by the UK Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the Government Digital Service (GDS), and a collection of local authorities and sector bodies from across the UK and techUK as co-publisher. With over 160 signatories, including two fire and rescue service, the aim is to co-create the conditions for the next generation of local public services, where technology is an enabler rather than a barrier to service improvements. Never before has it been possible to collaborate so effectively across local public services and boundaries.

2019

Social Care Digital Innovation Programme launched as a collaborative effort between the Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS Digital to support digital innovation in social care. This is the third wave of this programme. Winning projects could “range from new assistive technology to data analytics to predict demand”. This programme alone indicates a “collaborative first” mindset and approach to the development and delivery of solutions to challenges that do not and should not fall solely under the responsibility of one public sector organisation or agency.

2019

YouGov results that show (after Brexit) “Crime” is rated as a higher concern than “Health” by the public.

2019

Home Office announces a Public Health Approach to tackling violent crime. The approach aims to encourage a more collaborative effort to delivering public safety and supporting vulnerable people.

We are now seeing evidence of further transformation of the public safety sector with the incoming National Law Enforcement Data Programme (NLEDP) which is going to replace PND and PNC.

Across the public safety network, there are plenty of examples of visible and significant efforts to do things different when it comes to public safety service delivery, particularly regarding an ambition for greater collaboration. This is absolutely a positive sign. To take these efforts further, it is important to understand the technology trends that are changing the behaviour and expectations of people and organisations.

Approaches to collaboration

Collaboration is impacted by the context in which it is applied, but there tends to be three common principles which underpin collaborative efforts:

  1. Information sharing
  2. Joint decision-making
  3. Co-ordinated intervention

Research demonstrates that there is a spectrum of multi-agency working:

  • No evidence of joined up working. Siloed, untransferable or inaccessible data.
  • Existing forms of practice and coordination - with some evidence of joint working.
  • Virtual links between agencies that aid information sharing and decision making.
  • Co-located hub enabling real time information sharing, decision making & communication (MASH).
MASH is the most common model of formalised multi-agency working and is associated with significant improvements in safety service delivery, particularly around child services.

Enabling collaborative working

Combined Authorities to become exemplars

The UK’s regional combined authorities are legal bodies that enable a group of two or more local government areas to collaborate and take decisions across council boundaries, typically led by an elected metro mayor. As the city region’s champion, convener and connector, the Mayor is well placed to drive the changes needed to drive and facilitate digitally-enabled collaboration. With the authority to set the agenda and bring all the relevant parties to the table, combined authorities can become exemplars for what best practice looks like in this space.

Technology doesn’t stand alone

Technology has long been a tool that local leaders can use to support the delivery of public services to their communities. As we move towards a more joined-up approach to the delivery of local public service outcomes, technology will be a key enabling tool for efficient and collaborative working.

Digital infrastructure, data-driven technologies and connectivity and communications are three technologies that present significant opportunities for collaboration in public safety service provision, from the frontline to in-house operations.

It is important to acknowledge that while technology has significant potential to facilitate a more collaborative approach to public service delivery, there is a real risk that without the necessary policies, procedures, capacity and capability within organisations, the ability for technology to transform public service outcomes will be significantly constrained. That is why we cannot have the conversation about technology separate from the conversation about cultural and behavioural change within organisations and across the public safety sector as a whole. In unpacking each technology trend below, a people and process recommendation is provided to maximise the opportunity and align the thinking. It is more than just technology. It is about creating a digital mindset and having a strong digital infrastructure and culture across a place that will ultimately deliver improved service outcomes for all.

Recommendation: Public safety organisations should sign up to the Local Digital Declaration

Digital infrastructure

Digital infrastructure refers to the “foundational services that are necessary to the information technology capabilities” of an entity, whether it be a police force, an ambulance trust or a local authority. Cloud computing is an example of digital infrastructure, and one that is gaining increasing attention across the public and private sectors. Its key benefits include:

Definition: Cloud computing, the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

  • Scalability, meaning it can be used by organisations of different sizes, operating across a variety of contexts, whether that be urban or rural.
  • Productivity and efficiency improvements through increased computing power and faster access to information.
  • Enabling shared access across different data holders.
  • Reducing maintenance costs without reducing speed and functionality of the service.
  • Potential to free up internal IT support resources as the responsibility for managing accessibility and functionality lies with the supplier.

Moving to rely upon digital infrastructure is not without its challenges, and it takes a cohesive, digital-first approach to instigate the meaningful, and transformative change that digital infrastructure can bring about.

Recommendation: organisations that operate in public safety services must undertake an audit of existing collaborative platforms to understand their current state of play and identify gaps.
Recommendation: organisations ought to take steps to identify what other localities have done and share best practice.
Recommendation: organisations that operate in public safety services should undertake an audit of what training has been done, and review to meet needs of staff and future proof the organisation.
Recommendation: local public safety services should be encouraged to engage with industry to interrogate the problem, understand the art of the possible, and validate ideas. techUK is well placed to host these market engagements.

Digital infrastructure, such as cloud, provides opportunities to build on a suite of other technological tools and functions which are aimed at aiding blue lights services in providing critical public safety services. The UK has a vibrant and dynamic tech sector with blue-light’s specific expertise and solutions. It is widely recognised that the ecosystem needs to be fostered so that partnerships and networks are able to deliver joined-up, collaborative solutions. techUK is working to encourage greater interoperability of services and solutions with its industry working group, to demonstrate a dedication to the outcomes that the technology serves to provide. These efforts will have a direct impact on the public safety service providers and should be supported by them.

Recommendation: public safety providers from across emergency services and local public services should support industry efforts to deliver more interoperable solutions.

Data-driven technologies

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation are examples of tools that will become increasingly important to policing. Their development in this area is being spurred by an increasing availability of data.

These technologies present unprecedented opportunities for public safety organisations with potential benefits including improved accuracy and speed in decision making, and greater efficiency and effectiveness of working. But what does this mean for public safety collaboration?

Data-driven technologies have a particularly strong business cases on the preventative side of public safety. With more efficient, accurate insight into potential threats to safety, public safety services may be able to use data-driven technologies to better direct the right service to address the issue. This could, in turn, support efforts to reduce demand on the different services, making public safety service delivery more efficient and effective.

Case Study | Single Online Home

The Digital Public Contact strand of the Digital Policing Portfolio, is delivering a project, the Single Online Home, which provides digital ways for the public to engage interact with police forces “that are as trusted as 999”. The Single Online Home:

  • Offers a broad range of online reporting and transactional services
  • provides real channel choice for the public, enabling engage interaction with the police in ways that align with changes in expectations and behaviour
  • captures and filters information effectively and efficiently helping to triage reports and direct them to the relevant force
  • provides a national consistency of service while maintaining forces’ local identity and connection with communities.

The Single Online Home is a significant transformation project that involved not only the introduction of new technological tools, but a change in the internal approaches to managing public contact. Having brought together the technology tools, internal processes, procedures and organisational culture, the Single Online Home project is already demonstrating its benefits to both policing and the public, helping to reduce 101 call volumes and reduce police processing times.

It could also mean that other non-traditional public safety partners, such as educators, are looped in earlier as part of the solution to particular vulnerabilities and risk factors. As a result, preventative public safety services are more accurately and effectively directed, which provides benefits for both organisations but also for citizens.

However, there are some important challenges that require urgent attention if the power of data-driven technologies is to be harnessed for good.

  1. Interoperability of software and applications: the public safety ecosystem is just that – an ecosystem of organisations from the public and private sectors. This means that there is an array of solutions providers that supply to public sector organisations. It is up to industry to demonstrate this intention, but as recommended earlier, public safety organisations should look to support these efforts where possible.
  2. Quality of data: data-driven technologies, and the decision-making capabilities they can provide will only be as good as the data that is available to them. This means that organisations must ensure that the data they use and access is of a decent quality. This is an important step towards ensuring public safety providers are able to recognise what data assets they have and what can be done with them to maximise their potential. Building on this, “Data Sharing Agreements” or a “Memorandum of Understanding for Sharing Data” is a useful tool to strengthen and standardise understanding of, and approaches to data sharing in public sector organisations. These agreements with external organisations would need to be developed alongside, or in conjunction with one another, so that they are not at risk of becoming another barrier to collaborative efforts, particularly given the increasingly important role of data in many areas of public safety provision.

Case Study | Establishing an office of data analytics

London has previously piloted an office of data analytics, and West Midlands secured one as part of its new devolution deal – to overcome obstacles to data sharing and use analytics to better manage demand. 2017 saw the launch of the Worcestershire Office of Data and Analytics (WODA). It brings together partners across the local government public service landscape to introduce innovative ways to address the challenges of the place and use data to bring frontline insights that will create a data-driven culture and drive digital transformation. There is a clear governance structure in place including a Partnership Executive Board; Chief Data Officer; and WODA Information Governance Group.

With the trends of office of data analytics, other localities should explore the existing best practice out there to see what model can work for them in helping to share data more confidently between local public service partners as well as help create a culture of collaboration.

Recommendation: as part of the audit, organisations should work to understand what data they hold, what they access and what the format and quality of that data is.
Recommendation: local public service organisations must identify key data partners with whom to first build strategic Data Sharing Agreements. This could start with a local focus and then be built out to work in conjunction with other regional and national level organisations.

3. Data sharing with external organisations and consent management: Data accessibility and management sits at the heart of digitally-enabled, joined-up safety service provision. When it comes to multi-agency collaboration, data sharing emerges as a double-edged sword in that it can be both the most important and most challenging aspect of the collaborative evolution. It is certainly the case that if different organisations can share, interrogate and analyse relevant data, they will be able to work together to identify challenges, develop interventions, prevent harm and create safer places over the long term. Current data protection legislation, such as General Data Protection Regulations should not be seen as a barrier to data sharing, but as a framework for understanding the power of data as well as underpinning what is shareable within reason.

Recommendation: the ICO should support public sector organisations by working to demystify what the challenges to data sharing are in collaboration efforts for public safety and how they can be addressed.

Communications and Connectivity

Public safety providers understand more than most the power of good communication and connectivity, much of which falls under the title of mission critical technology. Inadequate and insufficient communications and connectivity can have a devastating impact on the provision of public safety, and it is imperative that these organisations are not left behind as the pace of technological change hastens. Many of the public safety challenges that we see today cut across the remit of public safety organisations, so they must “coordinate and communicate effectively, not only amongst [themselves] but with emergency service partners and the public”.

Communication and connectivity trends are largely characterised by faster networks and improved mobile capabilities which will have an impact on how organisations and people communicate. For example, 5G, “the next generation of mobile technology” will “offer new capabilities” such as higher data rates and improved performance. These changes will be felt from the frontline, to the control room, to internal operations. As such, it will be important to ensure that end users are comfortable with and competent in using the technologies, otherwise integration will be hindered.

Recommendation: as technological changes are rolled out, organisations must equip end users with skills and training that will ensure their confidence in the technology and its benefits.

Conclusion

techUK stands ready and willing to support the local public services ecosystem with its collaborative efforts to improve local outcomes. This report outlines the enabling role technology can play in making collaboration a reality. However, for collaboration to be meaningful organisations will need to build culture and processes that facilitate a collaboration-first mindset. The recommendations outlined in this report will help organisations to unlock the power of collaboration tools and reap the benefits that multi-agency working can deliver in improving local public service outcomes. We welcome engagement from our public sector friends seeking support from industry so that together we can build a fit-for-the-future public safety ecosystem.

Recommendations

  1. Public safety organisations and local public services encouraged to sign up to the Local Digital Declaration.
  2. Organisations that operate in public safety services undertake an audit of existing collaborative platforms to understand their current state of play and identify gaps.
  3. Organisations ought to take steps to identify what other localities have done and share best practice.
  4. Organisations that operate in public safety services should undertake an audit of what training has been done, and review to meet needs of staff and future proof the organisation.
  5. Local public safety services should be encouraged to engage with industry to interrogate the problem, understand the art of the possible, and validate ideas. techUK is well placed to host these market engagements.
  6. Public safety providers from across emergency services and local public services support industry efforts to deliver more interoperable solutions.
  7. As part of the audit, organisations should work to understand what data they hold, what they access and what the format and quality of that data is.
  8. Local public service organisations must identify key data partners with whom to first build strategic Data Sharing Agreements. This could start with a local focus and then be built out to work in conjunction with other regional and national level organisations.
  9. The ICO should support public sector organisations by working to demystify what the challenges to data sharing are in collaboration efforts for public safety and how they can be addressed.
  10. As technological changes are rolled out, organisations must equip end users with skills and training that will ensure their confidence in the technology and its benefits.

Credits:

Created with images by JJ Jordan - "untitled image" • chatdanai - "Cityscape and business technology graphic design background. Mixed media"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.