Man looking at data

The power of automation in the public sector

Advanced joined a panel of Public Sector digital experts at PSE’s Digital Transformation online event in May in a discussion around the successful use of data, you can see the on-demand version here

The digital revolution is transforming every sector from retail, to education, to healthcare. Yet, some areas, particularly within the public sector, are still heavily reliant on outdated, manual data entry processes.

The UK government has embarked on an ambitious journey towards complete digital transformation by 2025. The 'Transforming for a digital future: 2022 to 2025 roadmap' is a comprehensive plan that will ensure the UK government is more digitally efficient and can provide better outcomes for all.

Digital transformation in the public sector refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of public services, fundamentally changing how these services operate and deliver value to citizens. The goal is to improve efficiency, enhance service delivery, and ensure that government operations are in line with the expectations of a digital-savvy public.


Risks of Manual Data Entry

Manual data entry is a big hurdle for many, as it is an outdated approach to business that can, and does, cause a variety of problems. Not only is it unnecessarily time-consuming, but it can also be responsible for huge bottlenecks and exposes organisations to avoidable errors.

Prone to human error

For starters manual data entry is often a monotonous, repetitive task that leaves an organisation with a broad scope for human error. Whether it's in the form of typos, duplications, or simple oversights, these mistakes can lead to considerable inaccuracies in organisational data. Specifically, this becomes a significant issue for the public sector, where data should be up-to-date, transparent, and easily accessible to all. Poor data and inconsistencies can have far-reaching consequences for all organisations in the public sector.

Time-consuming and costly

Employees can spend countless hours inputting data, which is extremely time-consuming and inefficient, not to mention it takes up significant operational costs that could be redirected to better serve the public purse. Due to modern technology, these core processes can be automated so that staff time and efforts can be spent on more strategic tasks that help organisations reach their goals and outcomes quicker.

Data security concerns

There is no doubt that there is some hesitancy around the public sector with updating technologies and migrating data. This is not an entirely irrational fear either, as many organisations have been comfortably using their legacy platforms from anywhere of 20 years and upward, so this change is a big consideration. However, we do not speak enough about the impact of inaction on organisations, particularly within the public sector.

A major risk associated with manual data entry is the potential compromise of data security. Although many public sector organisations are concerned with data security of new technologies and in particular, cloud based solutions, the risk of data breaches and unauthorised access actually increases
through manual data entry. As the number of people within an organisation handling manual data entry rises, so does the risk of error, fraud, and breach of sensitive information.

How automation can transform public services

Data automation offers a solution to the risk of data handling for organisations in the public sector. Just as the risks of manual data entry are manifold, so too are the benefits of data automation. Many employees working across all sectors no longer wish to be solely admin based, more and more staff are wanting to get involved with the strategic running of their organisations and use their skills and expertise to better serve business outcomes. More often than not, they are currently unable to do this as manual data entry is too time-consuming and laborious. Automation of core processes within the public sector could help to:

  • Improve accuracy and reliability
    Automating data entry processes can significantly reduce the likelihood of human error. With increased access to data, organisations can unlock more accurate, reliable, and up-to-date data. This, in turn, enables more informed decision-making and improves service delivery within the public sector.

  • Enhance efficiency

Mundane, manual tasks that used to take hours can be accomplished in mere minutes. This improves productivity, workflows and it frees up staff to focus on more critical issues.


  • Strengthen data security

Data automation can also help to enhance data security. Centralising core data security processes means that it is easier to track information in one place. It also limits the number of users with the ability to access sensitive data, ensuring that an organisation can have more control over their data and can limit the risk of security breach.


  • Unlock better insights

Automated systems don't just collect data; they also evaluate it, providing powerful insights and analytics. These data snapshots could range from supplier or supply chain information, they could offer insights into ESG priorities, or perhaps even valuable intelligence around customer/user behaviours and trends. These insights allow public sector organisations to have more visibility and control over the entire business function, in order to make accurate data-driven decisions that can improve their services. Therefore, it can be transformative to organisations and helps to drive the ambitions set out by the government for 2025.

  • Attract and retain talent

Organisations who are seen to be modernising and improving their internal systems also help to attract and retain new to existing talent. As covered earlier in this article, many employees now want to feel more fulfilled in their roles and responsibilities in the workplace. Having systems in place that enable them to do their job more efficiently and to a better standard, improves morale and motivation. Automation also gives staff some of their time back, so that they are able to become more integrated and interested in improving or driving business developments and strategic objections in their organisation.


How can the public sector access automation services?

By adopting automation, organisations can have more situational awareness of their data qualities, standards, regulations, and resources to operate well. It allows internal departments to collaborate more effectively, to reduce data silos, and to enable the entire customer journey with the public sector to run smoother. The power of automation in the public sector is unrivalled, it is the key to unlocking enhanced qualities of data and insights that can propel the services currently offered, to better suit the needs of those they are delivered to.

At Advanced we have a wealth of experience in driving digital transformation for many organisations and have proudly served the public sector for over 30 years. We constantly strive to improve the ways in which businesses and organisations can better serve their customers or citizens, and our technology portfolio spans across every sector.

To understand more about how Advanced enables the public sector to deliver excellence to UK citizens please visit
Public Sector Software | Advanced (, and explore our solutions in Spend Management, Finance, Field Service, Health and Care and more.


Image credit: iStock


PSE April/ May 2024

Alarming decline in UK costal water quality

Dive into our latest edition for April/May 2024!


More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of public sector leaders responsible for procurement and strategy across local authorities and the wider public sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for leaders of industry to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation.

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

Public Sector Executive Podcast

Ep. 53 Compassion and Co-operation - Dr Nik Johnson

For the 53rd episode of the Public Sector Executive Podcast, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, spoke to host Dan Benn about some of the most important issues facing his region, as well as what drives him as a leader.