There’s no doubt that citizens depend heavily on councils for vital information, from financial support through to things like community services they can access. While councils are the core of communities and do so much for citizens, an issue that crops up is how difficult people find it to get the support they need. One of the causes of this breakdown in communication is not always having the right setup in place. Still, with budgetary pressures and limited resources, it’s easy to see how this happens.
While local government organisations have started adopting more modern, digital communication methods internally, it’s clear from recent research that there is an opportunity to improve citizen communications. But what does the real big picture look like? How many councils have introduced communications technology that supports things like hybrid working? What about the tools they use to communicate with citizens?
These are just a few of the areas RingCentral, in collaboration with GovNewsDirect, recently explored with public sector leaders to better understand how they use the latest communications technology.
What are some of the research findings?
Councils rely on telephony to communicate
Relying on the trusty phone to communicate isn’t an issue in itself. The problem comes when phone systems can’t integrate with more modern workflows. For example, traditional (on-premises) phone systems don’t have the functionality to import key information into customer relationship management software. So, employees have to log any communication related to citizens manually, and this manual logging is prone to human error.
Have organisations migrated telephony to the cloud?
This suggests that almost half are yet to migrate fully and shows just how much potential there is for digitalisation. To dig deeper into the findings, we set up a podcast series. The first episode examines how modern communications are implemented in local government and related topics.
Introducing ‘Public Sector’s Communication Conundrum’ podcast
The first episode in our brand-new podcast series, ‘Public Sector’s Communication Conundrum’, drills down into the obstacles local governments face when adopting or considering cloud communications solutions. The podcast’s discussion also highlights cloud telephony’s benefits, from the flexibility of ‘soft phones’ to improving call waiting times.
Hosted by Mark Blanchard (Public Sector Director, GovNewsDirect), the first episode features James Gilbert (Assistant Director for Corporate, South and East Lincolnshire Council’s Partnership), who shares learnings and advice from implementing digital communication solutions.
The conversation explored questions such as:
- How has the adoption of Microsoft 365 specifically impacted communication processes in local government?
- What are the key areas in local government communications that require further improvement?
- What challenges do local governments encounter when migrating telephony to the cloud and integrating it into primary business applications?
- How are local authorities proactively addressing the disparities in communication effectiveness?
- How can overcoming technology silos help bridge communication gaps?
In addressing these topics, this podcast explores how local government can meet and satisfy the expectations of staff and citizens today.
Head to ‘Public Sector’s Communication Conundrum’ podcast series to watch other episodes in full.
Originally published Sep 20, 2023