The Cabinet Office has announced a series of government-wide projects that it says can save the taxpayer up to £1 billion.
The four new projects are part of the Evaluation Task Force’s Accelerator Fund, which provides money to departments to improve evaluation of policy within government.
One project, which will drive forward improvements in government services, could see £1 billion of taxpayer’s money saved through shifting services to digital channels, reducing paper use and automating processes. This includes through the use of phone-bots and automated processes to cut out unnecessary processes.
More than £1.2 million of funding has been awarded to teams tackling issues such as cutting costs through digital transformation and mapping the use of electric vehicles.
“This is a government with innovation at its core and it’s vital that we channel that in the right way, ensuring decisions made by the government are data-driven,” said Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin.
“This funding will help teams drive innovation across government, creating the tools and data departments need to become more efficient and drive value for money. I’m looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on public services.”
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The four projects in detail
The four projects awarded a total of £1,285,000 via the Evaluation Accelerator Fund will test and develop new data-driven approaches to policy-making and evaluation. It builds on £12.2 million awarded across 16 projects in the first round of funding last year.
Teams across Whitehall and the What Works Network were invited to place bids for ideas that would test and evaluate the impact of new policies or approaches to delivering public services.
One successful bid, which has received £500,000 from the Accelerator Fund, will see the Cabinet Office evaluate how service improvements, such as reducing the use of paper and demand on customer service teams, can help unlock savings across government. Improvements may include the replacement of physical signatures with e-signatures, or the use of electronic notifications, for example SMS and social media, instead of paper.
Around £450,000 also went towards work being undertaken by the Department for Transport exploring how mobile network operator (MNO) data can be used to support initiatives targeting electric vehicle uptake and usage. It is hoped that mobile data, including geographical spread, charging locations and distances travelled, can be used to help locate charging infrastructure where it’s needed most, as well as providing a more comprehensive evaluation of electric vehicle usage across the country.
Last year a project led by the College of Policing was awarded £1.7 million to help test new ways at preventing violence against women and girls. The funding is now being used to further evaluate the use of Rapid Video Response (RVR) for domestic abuse, having previously been trialled by Kent Police. Findings from the Kent trial showed that it had increased victim satisfaction, with the average wait time to speak to an officer reduced to three minutes. Financial efficiencies, based upon the findings of the initial trial, were calculated to be between £119,000 – £190,000 per annum. Replication of RVR in other forces and testing of different uses of the same technology will identify the potential of this approach across the country.
Another project led by the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison and Probation Service was awarded more than £933,000 to tackle drug misuse in prisons by monitoring wastewater. Following successful fieldwork, the trial is due to launch later this year.