In the past, each public-sector department has viewed citizens as users of its particular service, whether it was a request for a disabled parking spot in front of the house or a pattern of behaviors that might signal the need for further social services.
The result, when viewed by department, looks logical. However, when looked at from the citizen's perspective, it is complex, confusing, and difficult to penetrate. When you overlay multiple departments, levels of government, and community organizations, there is clearly duplication, overlap, and replication of services and channels that add cost, complexity, and obscure the ability to achieve social outcomes.
Today there is a shift toward citizen-centered services, designed to eliminate operational silos and bring benefits and services together to focus on solving a particular need or issue. By focusing on achieving outcomes, we can bring together benefits and services and combine forces from multiple organizations. This collaborative approach allows outcomes to be achieved with less cost and wasted effort.
Here is one example of how this approach can work. In Utah, the state created an electronic Resource and Eligibility Project (or eREP) that determines eligibility for some 60 health and welfare programs and calculates benefits. Citizens fill out just one application form, answering questions about their own situation. Then state workers use the system to get them the appropriate benefits. As a result, people no longer need to spend hours wading through multiple forms for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, only to find their income level and single status makes them ineligible. And the state of Utah has an efficient way to administer services that is effective and affordable.
Taking a citizen-centric view does more than improve services -- it makes them more effective, affordable, and efficient.
Discover more. Click to view our infographic on how smarter social programs help caseworkers better serve clients.