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RPA Strategy for Local Government

City Councils - Create an impactful RPA strategy, deliver community for less

|  Read this strategy guide if you work in local government and want guidance on creating an impactful RPA strategy that delivers

By following this strategy guide, you will have everything you need to improve productivity, staff morale and, most importantly, continue delivering a quality service for your customers with RPA.

By the end of the guide, you will know:


  • Step-by-step, how to build an RPA strategy that works
  • How to measure your automation strategy and see if it’s working
  • How to win stakeholder buy-in for RPA and build an automation-friendly 
  • How other local government offices are applying RPA

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Quick recap:

RPA is a type of automation technology that can mimic the same interactions a human has with a computer.

With it, anyone can record the steps they follow to complete a work process once, then have a virtual worker follow those same steps and take care of that process for them.

Some of the main benefits are:

  • Speed and accuracy:  RPA 'bots' can help people perform tasks much faster, and with zero errors
  • Increased productivity:  Get more done with the same working hours and number of staff
  • Increased colleague morale:  Automate tasks that workers don’t enjoy and free them to focus on the ones they do
  • Integrate people and processes:  Look at how work is being done and improve effeciency by removing silos
  • Increased compliance:  Bots can be fully tracked and audited

How automation can help local government offices


Current challenges

Funding for local government offices has fallen by £15 billion in the last 10 years, but the need for their services hasn’t. In fact, local authorities are balancing these cuts with an increasingly narrow focus on social care spending and no reduction in their statutory obligations to provide other services. This is happening for two reasons:


  1. Growing demand for social services
  2. Falling central government funding to support social care

Cost, income loss and cash flow pressures caused by COVID-19 have only added to these financial pressures, with councils likely to absorb an unfunded pressure of £1.1-£2 billion in 2020/21 unless extra funding is announced.

What does this mean?

The upshot is that many local authorities are struggling to balance their books, cut
costs and continue delivering non-social-care services.

Without support, more local authorities may join Northamptonshire County Council in issuing a Section 114 notice, declaring that they might not meeet their legal obligation to ensure revenue covers spending.

How RPA can help

RPA offers a cost-effective means for local authorities to process essential services for their community like:

  • Housing benefit claims
  • Council tax and direct debit instruction
  • Address changes
RPA can help deliver these services with minimal supervision, freeing staff to focus more time on delicate social care requests that require individual attention.

The importance of strategy

If you’re reading this automation strategy guide, likely recognise the potential benefits that RPA could offer your organisation already.

At this point, your challenge is likely to convince others of the same.

Automation technologies like RPA aren’t new, but they’re not common yet either.  Innovators must be able to evidence value quickly to win over stakeholders, and effective strategy is the key to doing that successfully.

We will show you how to make sure your first RPA implementation strategy has best possible odds of success by showing you: 

  • How to measure the impact of your RPA strategy
  • How to get internal stakeholders on board early
  • How to get the most out of RPA

After a quick case study, we’ll get started with Planning - what to prepare and who to get involved in your RPA project first.

“For Brent, RPA isn't about staff cuts.  It's about being able to allow staff the time to do their proper jobs.  The positive effect of this is that staff can now devote their time to making a difference to people's lives, which is why we're here.” 

- Manjula Pindoria, Digital Workstream Lead, Brent Council

Brent Council


Twice a year, Brent Council has to process rent changes for its council housing tenants - a time-consuming, manual task for council officers.



Six weeks after deciding to automate the process, the council launched an RPA proof of concept (we’ll cover PoCs in more detail later, don’t worry).

They found that colleagues using RPA could process each rent change in 40 seconds (instead of 4+ minutes like normal).


The council estimates that enhancing this process with RPA has saved over £32,000 in annual overtime costs needed to hit deadlines.


|  Preparation

Build your team

Whether you have a dedicated team to support your RPA strategy or colleagues that can only contribute a few hours each week, you should start your strategy by ‘recruiting’ two colleagues for the following roles:

1.  An RPA sponsor:  This is the senior level champion for RPA within your organisation.  This person can help secure buy-in from other
senior stakeholders for important decisions, and have budgeting influence.

2.  An RPA evangelist:  This is your project lead, and the person responsible for driving the project forward (likely the person reading this strategy guide).

Another important task they have is to speak
with other teams in your organisation and identify processes for automation.


'Scout' governance team candidates with a workshop

Next, start your automation strategy on the right foot by assessing organisational fit, appetite and readiness for RPA. The best way to do this is by hosting an internal workshop with potential candidates of your RPA strategy governance team.

Depending on the resources you have available, your workshop can be led by a specialist RPA vendor like boxxe, or by your RPA evangelist. Either way, you want to make sure that you have someone in the room with RPA expertise to help guide the conversation.



To help develop your own automation expertise ahead of this workshop, use Automation Anywhere's extensive library of free digital RPA training courses

We recommend that representatives from these departments get an invite:

  • Human Resources:  Keep your community and colleagues at the heart of your plans by working with HR from the start. This partnership will help you address common automation concerns, and communicate the value of RPA across the organisation

  • Communications:  A common misconception around automation is that it’s a gateway to job loss, and not simply a tool for getting more done. Bring your communications team into conversations early to help them understand and communicate these benefits to your colleagues

  • IT/Project Manager:  RPA is most valuable when it works across a number of different programs and systems. It’ll be a huge help if you have someone in the room who understands the systems a ‘virtual worker’ might need to work with to help build your RPA implementation model (i.e.  the process of deploying RPA out into operations)

  • A rep from another company that is using RPA successfully (optional extra):  A growing number of offices are using RPA successfully, consider asking if a colleague at one could join your workshop virtually and offer guidance.

“This isn't a case study in data migration; this is a case study in elevating human potential through technology.” 

- Brian Klochkoff, Dentsu

Dentsu Aegis Network


Dentsu, the 5th largest ad agency network in the world, spent the first half of 2020 migrating from legacy systems to newer, more efficient digital platforms. 

Without an Application Programming Interface (API) to help migrate data, dentsu were faced with moving 2.8 million records manually.

Despite only taking 70 seconds to move each file, it would take 41 employees working for an entire year to complete the migration. 


Instead of hiring hundreds of temporary employees for a manual copy-and-paste job, dentsu used robotic process automation to complete the entire migration unattended.


Using RPA to automate 17 workflows, Dentsu saved 125,000 hours and completed the entire migration in just 6 weeks. 

What to prepare ahead of your workshop

A 5-10 minute presentation to introduce RPA

Start by defining RPA, talking through relevant case studies, and introducing the aims of the workshop.

Workshop objectives

Clearly state what you hope to achieve by the end of the session.  This can be as simple as getting answers to questions like: 

  • Could automation benefit our workplace?
  • Are there any specific processes that could be automated?
  • Are there areas of our organisation where staff are stretched and automation could help?

An elevator pitch

What would you say to a senior manager, customer or colleague if you had just a few minutes to win them over to RPA?  Drive your opening presentation home with a concise pitch about what you hope RPA can help your organisation to achieve.  (Don’t be afraid to set ambitious targets and inspire those around you.)

Run an internal survey ahead of your meeting (Optional extra) 

What’s the easiest way to communicate the value of automation?  Evidence a clear problem for it to solve.  Ahead of your workshop, consider emailing a short survey to colleagues across your organisation and asking questions like:
  •  Do you feel like any parts of your work could be more efficient?
  • Do you feel like your department has any inefficient processes?
  • Do you believe that you could contribute more value to your workplace if less of your
    time was spent on administrative tasks?
There are free platforms which you can use to do this, like Survey Monkey and Microsoft Forms.  Bring the results with you and use them to help build your case for RPA.


|  Planning

Choose a process to automate first

The best processes to start automating carry high organisational value. Avoid low-risk/low-reward examples which will make it tough to make your business case for RPA later. Example processes you could choose are:

  • Recruitment process

    Automating hiring tools for specific keywords allows for an added focus and time on choosing the right candidate

  • Internal help desk support

    From FAQs to company policy, smart bots give immediate answers that help save time

  • Customer support

    Automating customer queries eliminate the need for human involvement completely.  To prepare, we’ve created a checklist to help you find out whether RPA is a good fit for your chosen process.

    Find out if you're automation-ready by reading our
    Automation Checklist

Define success with SMART objectives

Before implementing RPA, set clear objectives that clearly define what success looks like, and you’ll achieve it. An easy framework for drafting these is SMART.  A SMART objective is:

  • Specific:  Try not to create a more generic strategy statement like ‘we will make 
    customer invoicing faster’.

    Instead, be specific about the aspects or areas of your service that you aim to 
    improve with RPA.  This will stop project drift and make it easier to choose KPIs for 
    measuring success.  Speaking of …

  • Measurable:  Set a numerical goal for your automation strategy where possible.  It should be time-specific, measurable, and define the staff/customers that will be impacted.  This will help you avoid scope creep and monitor progress while your strategy is ongoing.

  • Achievable:  If you’re unsure about the potential of automation, work with your vendor to understand the technology and set realistic targets in the timescale you have.

  • Relevant:  You should link your automation strategy to service outcomes or costsaving in a way that demonstrates clear value to stakeholders.  This is where your RPA sponsor will come in handy, getting steer from a senior member of staff will help your automation strategy secure buy-in from other parts of the organisation.

  • Timely:  Set a clear time-frame for when the objectives of your automation strategy should be achieved. 


Reduce administrative time spent invoicing suppliers by 60% before 30 June 2023.

Test with Proof of Concept

RPA is already a proven technology, but can it solve your organisational needs?  A Proof of Concept (PoC) will put your business case assumptions to the test, validate your implementation model and help you to understand how your colleagues in the operation react to RPA.

A PoC project is a little tricky to advise on in a general sense, so instead we’ll offer two useful tips to help get you started:

Tip #1:  If you don’t want to test RPA on a customer-facing process, we recommend
starting with a smaller, less risky process in departments like finance, recruitment or HR.

Tip #2:  Any roll-out of automation, whether it’s a PoC or full deployment, requires that
the affected staff receive effective training in advance.

Whether you use a vendor to run a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach or you encourage everyone 
to make full use of free online courses, a digital transformation like this requires on-going training and development to be successful.

|  Deployment

Use what you’ve learned in a (hopefully) successful PoC, and move onto a full deployment.  If you’ve followed the steps before, by now you’ll have: 

  • An effective governance team and support system in place to enable an
    effective RPA deployment
  • Contacts in Human Resources and Communications to help you create
    an automation-friendly culture in the workplace
  • A chosen process, or set of processes, that you plan to automate
  • Clear criteria for measuring success in your RPA implementation strategy
If you’re using a vendor then they’ll be on hand to support, but otherwise you’re ready to start automating and benefiting from increased efficiency, better professional outcomes and increased staff satisfaction.

Our automation experts are on hand to support you at any point in your strategy, and we offer a free RPA Discovery Workshop to help start your automation journey.  Visit to arrange yours.

|   About boxxe


Our expertise in enabling fast, effective digital transformation has been proven over the past 30 years.

Our 5 delivery hubs, (Platform, Workplace, Security, Data and Digital), form an integrated whole that can secure the future of corporate services.

You can read more about how these 5 elements work together and what we do.


Read our Automation Strategy Guide and interested in RPA for Corporate Services?

Start your digital transformation by booking a FREE Digital Workshop with a boxxe Automation Specialist.  Simply call us on the number below or complete the form to get in touch today.

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