3 trends driving public sector planning

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A new report identifies cooperation, resilience and service delivery as key themes as governments plan for a post-pandemic future.

Connecting beyond siloed mission portfolios, bridging data gaps and designing with end-users in mind are all trends that are here to stay, according to a new report from Deloitte's Center for Government Insights that digs into public sector trends globally and in the United States. 

"It's really the year now when governments have begun the work of building for the future. It really focuses on what government efforts are doing to become future-ready, post-pandemic," Bill Eggers, executive director of the Center for Government Insights and a report author, told FCW.

The report draws out three themes: building resilience, forging connections for greater value and creating a government for all people. 

The drive to connect within institutions and between sectors resonates with many of the specific trends in the report, Eggers said. 

It is "really this notion of trying to break down a lot of the siloes that exist and provide more seamless service delivery and solutions to problems by essentially looking at structuring around problems, rather than simply departmental boundaries," he explained.

The Presidential Management Agenda and an executive order out of the Biden-Harris White House on customer experience, for example, both put an emphasis on organizing government services around "life experience" like retirement or unemployment, as opposed to agency missions.

"A core capability now in government is the ability to work across levels of government across sectors and to advance a lot of these bigger issues and solve some of the bigger problems that we're looking at," said Eggers. 

"Whether it's from climate to homelessness to refugee resettlement, it really takes people in government and organizations who are quite adept at being able to work across these sectors and across government silos to actually get things done," he continued.

The challenges to doing this cross-cutting work, though, include figuring out budget and funding models that cross institutional boundaries and fund projects over time, Eggers said, as well as getting the team and governance model in place. 

Sharing data among agencies, levels of government and sectors is also key to this, and another trend in and of itself in the report.

The accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies, as well as the urgent incentives to share data created by the pandemic and the expanding role of chief data officers, are all driving more data sharing, the report says. 

The role of chief data officers is "maturing," said Eggers, with more resources and influence attached to the role.

Finally, an emphasis on inclusive engagement and access for government services are also trends this year. The pandemic both accelerated a shift to digital government and revealed the real digital divide that hampers equal access, Eggers said.

Part of this is a movement toward human centered design, he said, "to both digital and in-person environments to make it much easier to access government services and to simplify these, and the development of more robust digital and data infrastructures for smoother operations."

Other trends the report dug into include government as a catalyst; reimagining social care; global health partnerships; future-proofing the labor force and re-shoring supply chains, as well as making government climate-resilient. 

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