Why we need a common approach to designing services that makes it easier and more efficient to deliver service transformation.

Why we need to design public services

Designing services in the public sector is not just about satisfying user needs.

Public services are aimed at solving problems. Public services solving problems image

We’re trying to solve people’s problems. Underneath problems are lots of needs.

One problem multiple needs image

Sometimes these problems can cause a huge amount of stress and may involve making big decisions at a time when making decisions becomes even harder. For example, an injury can lead to time off work, possibly even loss of employment, and can spiral into bigger issues, such as debt or losing a home.

When people move into crisis, it’s more difficult to solve their problem, causes more distress and uses more government funding.

Public services are provided by lots of organisations, and because of that it can often be difficult to get the right parts of someone’s ‘service journey’ aligned well. Although individual organisations might be doing a good job of meeting user needs for their part of the service journey, if all the organisations involved can’t see and align to the whole journey it can lead to problems. Making sense of this as a public sector organisation can be hard. For the person with the problem it can be even more difficult, especially when under stress.

We often make things worse by expecting people to know where to find help for all the things they need in order to get over the problem they’re facing.

Responses to these needs are delivered by a variety of organisations.

multiple organisations involved in problem solving image

This resource is to help organisations practically work together to understand problems. By working together in a common way, we can design effective service journeys that help people out of a difficult situation as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Organisations working together image

Is this just for digital transformation?

The public sector faces challenges: the quality and availability of services, increasing demand and decreasing public funds.

Digital service transformation is central to navigating these challenges for most organisations. Often this is understood as ‘digitising our operations’. It’s more than this — service transformation concerns the whole organisation and all of its business activities.

We need to build user and service focused thinking into all public sector organisations in Scotland.

Across the public sector there are:

  • a confusing number of methods, approaches, tools and languages for service transformation
  • widely varying capacity and capability to do service transformation

The Scottish Government is committed to increasing democratic engagement, and there is a requirement to reflect this in how we go about designing and delivering services.

The refreshed digital strategy, Realising Scotland’s Full Potential in a Digital World, emphasises the importance of business transformation through effective use of digital technology. This makes sure public services are designed around the needs of users and make sense to the people who need them most.

This resource provides an approach to designing services that makes it easier and more efficient to deliver service transformation, whilst increasing the engagement of citizens in that process.