Jul 2023 | Data Quality | Local Government

In the last few years and expedited by people’s unforeseen adaptability for digital services during the Pandemic, Local Government has accelerated its digital transformation program.

The pressure on Local Government to improve service standards for people in their constituencies continues to grow, much like other industries, such as Retail and Financial Services, which have seen dramatic increases in consumer service expectations.

In the last few years and expedited by people’s unforeseen adaptability for digital services during the Pandemic, Local Government has accelerated its digital transformation program.

People like to have easy access to the council information they need and to be able to request services or submit applications simply, whether digitally or via a human interaction.

And yet, data quality remains a major hurdle for Local Government in achieving their digital and customer service ambitions. In fact, a recent KPMG report states that just 38% of councils have a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ handling of data collection, enrichment and transfer1.

In this article, we’ll explore the challenges Local Governments face and how sharpening their data quality management practices will drive sustained improvement for their constituents.

Local Government, under constant pressure

The Public Sector, and Local Government in particular, face a myriad of constant challenges.

Funding from Central Government continues to be squeezed tightly, and strict wage structures means they often lack clout in the job market to secure top talent.

The lack of investment and skills shortage puts pressure on their strategic initiatives, such as digital transformation programs and data migrations.

Add to this, the historic hangover of legacy infrastructure (and the subsequent data silos) and you have a situation where grand ambitions must be tempered, and focus applied to quick, obvious and achievable development wins to enable better service provision for constituents.

How poor data quality impacts Local Government

Poor data quality is not a new phenomenon. In fact, thought leaders have been calling for better accuracy, governance and management for close-on half a century. This applies to all industries but hits Local Government hard due to the pressures we’ve outlined above.

Historically, Local Government systems sat independently (although modernisation is happening), data was collected individually and they lacked the resources to deliver the transformation programs that are required. Data silos, missing information, inaccuracies, and duplicates all combine to frustrate their digital ambitions.

In particular, poor data quality leads to the following issues:

  • Frustrated constituents – whose information is wrong, they can’t access services, the information they need or they’re not being informed.
  • Inability to deliver digital transformation programs
  • Failed or delayed data migrations
  • Wasted resource manually “cleaning” and merging data
  • System improvement initiatives that fail to deliver expected ROI

A key enabler of delivering the change programs that are required to satisfy constituents, is better data quality.

The impact of better data quality

Data quality issues must be tackled at source and then managed going forwards. On this blog, we often talk about the importance of automating data capture and validation (which largely removes human errors in your database) in order to provide the backbone for better data management.

Experian’s highly specialised software & services, as well as partnerships with all leading ERP/CRM providers including TechnologyOne, Civica, Pathway, Salesforce CRM & Microsoft Dynamics are there to help you manage your data.

Building a Single Constituent View (SCV) should also be a crucial goal, as it empowers service provision and constituent communications all from a single source of the truth.

Data enrichment, automated identification, and data targeting all then become areas of opportunity for Local Government to provide better digital services and a more tailored experience for constituents.

Improving data quality helps in three core ways:

  • Improving constituent experience – the reduction of errors and the ability for constituents to find information and services that they need
  • Delivering digital transformation – change programs can be accelerated as the data supporting them is trustworthy and accurate
  • Migrating legacy systems and data silos – moving data becomes far easier if you have a single source of the truth

Talk to Experian about giving your transformation program a boost

We understand that data quality, and more broadly, data management issues are not solved overnight. Especially when budgets are tight, resources are light, and skills are in short supply.

That’s why Local Government should focus on what it can do and start with the basics.

The old adage of garbage in, garbage out has never been more telling.

If you’d like to talk to someone about your data quality program, then the Experian team is here to help. We have decades of data management experience, award-winning self-service data quality tooling, and the frameworks to get you moving forwards towards a better experience for your constituents.

Get in touch today to discuss more.


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1 KPMG – The Future of Local Government (PDF)