The future of public service delivery

Chia-ying Tsai
Chia-Ying Tsai
Published in
14 min readSep 9, 2018


(Team project with /Carlos Canali , Zhen Li , Chien Yu Lin)

The article indicates how to deliver public service from government to citizen in the future.

Nowadays, the existing public service delivery already evolved as a complex system, interconnecting with various factors from central to local government, charity and private sectors. The government is the core to deliver the service with accountability efficiently and effectively, its function is able to affect other external actors and to response the demand from the citizen. The process of delivery is likely to include all stakeholders and organisation with their specific roles and responsibilities. Also, it is difficult to identify impacts and beneficiaries clearly.

In order to develop service with better quality, the government started to create new opportunities for innovative approach and ecosystems from last decade. Inevitably, the importance of digital transformation and management with technology is increasing to face the challenge of a complex system with seamless and easy way. The Government Digital Service (GDS), a governmental digital transformation, is an outstanding benchmark to look for government services and information with easy entry.

Open data for better delivery of public services

The figure above shows that the patterns occur at different points of public service delivery, moving from direct impacts for the user (on the left) towards indirect impacts through better delivery and policymaking (on the right). -from Open Data Institute.

Open data is accessible for everyone to access and share. With the public platform like a website, data can be available to be used for government, the private sector and citizen to benefit societal, economic and environmental approaches. It has applied to an initial stage for developing more modular and API driven way, which already became the common pathway for the private sector (like technology companies).

Referring to the “Using open data for public services” from Open Data Institute, the report reveals that the role of open data can be used crucially in public sector. Based on their research, it shows how data can create the new possibility for the future development of service delivery. Releasing open data of government is a new way to understand how the service delivery system works and seek for potential problems for different stakeholder, including commissioners, directors, service providers and frontline workers.

Open data is a supportive reference to arrange how to design service delivery chains with higher efficiency. It might become the strong and obvious evidence to tackle a particular problem. If there is a direct channel to access government data, it has the potential to raise the possibility of lower cost and better service from the organisational channel for a public ecosystem.

Case study

The figure above shows the monthly spend of London Borough of Southwark from Spend Network.

Spend Network integrates the procurement and finance data by over 300 different public sectors. The resource of data origins from the local authorities, which includes the budget, actual cost and relevant expenses. In general, despite having the guidance from central government, publication of data by local authorities still needs the effort to organise as the decent visualised information. They created this ecosystem to link the data, quality issues and proposing the further improvements. Moreover, Spend Network provides consultancy services to indicate the cost and insights analysis. They also supply the tailored service to re-publishing the open data for government, which meets the regulation under the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

Their publication helps to not only focus on the problem. For the citizen, it reveals simply the actual cost of different categories in clear visualisation and integrated information. From the report provided by Spend Network, it includes local authorities’ release of open spending, contract and tender data, supporting more value and further improvement for the spending in public expenditure. This case demonstrates that open data have the ability to perform the appropriate coordination between the government, private and third-party sector, involving the service delivery chain and helping the procedure more effectively and efficiently. Earlier timing of releasing open data tends to identify potential improvement quicker and frame impact in service delivery straightforwardly. Also, it opens up the discussion to address the existing problem and brainstorm the solution from data with different beneficiaries. It is curial to connect the benefit and common objectives between these stakeholders with using open data.

New coordination for digital government services delivery

The second benchmark is about the public service is a driven by the public-private partnership — Estonia as the reference. It would be interesting to check how the collaboration works as an equal relationship between government and private sector with improving public service together, such as the chatbox service via Facebook massager from Singapore government .

Case study

Digital governmental service from Estonia

Excluding several specific services like real-estate transactions, the Estonian government has pioneered to transform most of the public service in a digital way as e-service, which is available online to access anytime. The governmental platform is prototyped a similar one which is adopted by the well-known company for users. It considered designing the interface in order to help the service delivery easier and more efficiently.

Furthermore, Estonian Government Cloud developed in collaboration highlighted for a private-public partnership. The project involved a consortium consisting of Estonian State Infocommunication Foundation (RIKS) and technology company such as Ericsson, Telia, Cybernetica, DELL EMC and OpenNode.

“ A self-service portal for the technical and administrative personnel of the public sector, including an integrated AppStore for distributing Infrastructure/Platform/Software as a service, as well as consultancy and architecture review.”

The cloud connects both of management of the public sector and private company as the system administrators. According to combining private and public cloud service, it helps to guarantee the security for other digital services, optimizing the effectiveness and accessibility.

It is clear to understand the possible potential of this public-private partnership model. In the process of digital transformation, the demand of certain technical support is necessary. It means the government can seek for the technical support from an external resource. The requirement for digital service provides the chance to implement innovative service model for the technology company. Eventually, this infrastructure has the beneficial effect for the citizen to use the better quality of service.

In addition, the pros and cons of this innovative model will exist at the same time. The boundary of the data collection becomes blurred. Obviously, the government own the database of the citizen, inevitably they also pass through the cloud which is powered by the private system. The further question is that the private sector has the potential ability to use our data. Is it possible that they have not any approval of citizen, but own the secret agreement with the government? Even though, Ericsson declaimed the cloud infrastructure is controlled by Guardtime’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure, as a blockchain platform, which is applied on top of existing security product and integrity. From my viewpoint, the uncertainty between public and private sector is still in presence. For public-private partnership development, we still need to consider the effect and be aware of this importance from this relationship.


The process of creating new model for future government is assigned as the teamwork. Based on the briefing material given by European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the societal issues that addressed by London Borough of Camden as the reference, the team started to associate the scenario and the persona for searching the potential to develop new social roles. In addition, we have done was exploring the existing high-technology application and more cases studies. The main aim of this project is to explore what could be the new relationships between citizens, businesses and governments.

In chosen circumstances from JRC, isolation is aggravated for citizen as they work and communicate mainly in the virtual space. Moreover, this society tends to become ‘Blaming culture’. People have to involved within “social credit” system, an end-to-end social control where each citizen receives a numeric index of its trustworthiness and virtue. It illustrated the development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence has deeply affected how the government works and have close relationship with technology company, which we considered that this is key effect to shape new models of service delivery in a future of total surveillance, contextualising the focus on the social isolation issue. Eventually, we proposed our first provocation about how innovative model can optimise the usage of public service resources

“What if the quality of resources used in the social care service delivery will depend on citizens’ efforts on prevention?”

Frist version of our governmental delivery model

Our first prototype demonstrates that “AI-driven “public service delivery system”. All citizens rely on AI-driven system, applied for public social care service as model. Based on the analysis of citizen behaviour (data collection), the system provides the various activities that help the users maintain wellbeing as the prevention. Afterwards, the system will generate the ranking score to evaluate people’s participation from prevention stage. Depends on the level of score, the citizen is able to access to different levels of public service in intervention when they need. This model encourages citizens to engage more and put more effort into the prevention process in order to get better quality of public service resources. It aimed to support citizens to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.

The feedback session from stakeholders in co-creation workshop

We had a chance to obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders in co-creation workshop in Central Saint Martin, University of the Arts London on 27 April 2018. The participants included the staff of Camden borough, professionals from NESTA, FutureGov, Cabinet Office — Policy Lab and academics from London universities. According to our persona: Harry, we used the storytelling to present our concept, which helped our audience to envisage our scenario and questioned how to implement in a further way. Some people even had the direct emotional attachment instantly.

In general, the majority of feedback was positive, and it helped us to develop our model in a more practical direction. We reflected on our project again from the cluster of various voices. There have different pieces of advice from them, such as AI targeting system, the solution of failure scenario, possible cheating the system, and Economic aspect. However, the discussion of motivation in prevention was truly interesting discussion, it might be possible to become the social expectation for citizen as the ranking competition, to show people you are not a burden on the society, to give a good impression of you, to be matched with people active like you, to make sure you will be supported in case you might need it in the future. What if maintaining the score high is main aspiration for people, it has the adequate motivation to alter people’s behaviours?

Second phase

After assembling the feedback from workshop, we had more discussion and decide prevention stage of our service model for further development. The challenge we faced was about how to assure the people have appropriate motivation among the reward systems in prevention.

After identifying our service model, here are the main objective for our core idea:

- To take responsibility for their condition by making them doing something helpful for their condition that they won’t naturally do in order to reduce the waste of resources.

- To do something helpful for their condition by motivating them in going out of their comfort zone.

- To evaluate people’s performance by quantifying social interaction in a score.

During the process, we tried to map and researched more information about social isolation and defined the journey of persona in details. This step helped us to double check if we were in the right track to solve the issue as our model. Furthermore, the one of given feedback from tutorial supported us to refer the current system from the insurance company, which people are already familiar with. Our team decided to apply this concept to integrate with our system. This agreement was important to give the confidence about developing mature service model. Meanwhile, we have a benchmark as the similar project: Superflux, a concept about an envisaged world of mandatory health insurance, algorithmically-determined genetic risk profiling and backstreet gene-fixing.

After the iteration of prototyping, finally we have the final prototype and provocation:

What if the Government will act as an insurance company?

From our revised model, it is mandatory for every citizen to participant this system after the citizen starts to earn the income with valid National Insurance numbers. According to users’ behaviour and the environment they stayed, the system will generate the certain risk score. This system has the four level of treatment and tax to pay from 0–25, 26–50, 51–75, 76–100 points. If your ranking is higher, you will receive the more expensive risk tax bill from the government per month.

This service focus on the encouragement to reduce their risk score by different approaches, such as working out, attending the outdoor activities, connecting with your network with face to face interaction. The reduce moderator standard will be regularised in all products and purchase, which will assist citizen to decrease their score in any approach. As the private sector, the technology companies will focus on highlighting the product and service to reduce the service as well. When the citizen has an incident which endangered metal or physical health, their risk score rises over 95 as the threshold of eligible to use public social care service.

Overall, we built up the entire new system for possible future of government. For sure, there is no end, it becomes so interesting that the process will not be determined at this stage and still have a potential assumption to discuss. Personally, I am looking forward to having a further conversation with professionals and relevant stakeholders. The feedback from different perceptive will support this model to be comprehensive step by step.

5 trends of future service delivery

The significance of risk score system

Based on our provocation, the risk score will become the mainstream influence in the future. Risk moderator-driven system will work for entire society. Decreasing their risk score and risk tax payment will become the major impact for people to change their behaviour. The private companies will only focus on how to help consumers to reduce their risk for the primary beneficial target. By the public sector side, the central and local government will deliver different service for encouraging citizen, which can help them to reduce the risk from participating different activities. Even though, the average risk score will become crucial KPI between the councils as the competition. The result of reducing the risk score will be supportive to not waste the assets of social care service, the government can manage the public service resource under the control.

People realise the cost will be too high to afford if you did not in good condition, so they will make an effort to maintain their wellbeing. Generally, this system supports the citizen to forwards the wellbeing life actively.

No data, No service access

Data will be the crucial role in future society. Both private and public sector required your previous digital pathway and data history since you are born before acceptance your demand for purchase or using public service. Because the system relies on the results of algorithms extremely, data become the essential element for this achievement. So, if you lost all historical record, it is equivalent to become digital statelessness and lose any access for governmental service. It might happen to deprive your digital record as the penalty for certain crimes in the future.

It also means the data might be a similar position as the cryptocurrency. The only difference is everyone can generate the data in a complementary way, it is inevitable to produce the data every moment in future daily life. The data recording continues without pausing until the end of life. However, cryptocurrency needs through data trading and consumption from tangible currency.

Low priority privacy

Above the last trend, generating the data all the time and owning them becomes indispensable affairs. In order to get the privilege of service, people will prioritise to share their data with the public and private sector, instead of protecting the data privacy. To open my data is the direct shortcut to take advantage of everything in daily life. It is not big deal under surveillance, because the company or government can receive my data and deliver them in the quickest way. People will not concern anymore if the company of wearable devices will infringe on their own privacy or the government is watching them via CCTV. The personal privacy is worthless without any practical effect.

The citizen only cares if their data can transform to the beneficial result in a various way as soon as possible. “The hundred record of facial recognition in Starbucks will turn into one cup of free latte as digital coupon equally.” “GP only offer the prescription in order to get the medicine when you already provide sufficient real-time heartbeat rate and pulse data to NHS.”

No boundaries between communication

In the future, there will not have any obstacle to communicate with each other, even both side converse with the different language, the wearable devices will detect the audio or text as data and transform to the original language of each side. From another technical detection, Braille and sign Language also can be transferred as general language, which the disables can communicate simply. The data and all information after algorithm will display in the most appropriate way for people. For example, if the user is a senior group, the system will adjust the clearer layout and enlarge the font size in order to suit the current condition of the user. This trend can demonstrate that the technology can support the government to deliver the content of service with reducing communication barriers and assure the different group can receive and deliver the message between council and government comfortably.

The whole digital society

I assume that people will have to face the numerous data in entire “digital-oriented” surrounding in the future. Certainly, it will produce massive convenience for providing service seamlessly. I was wondering how humans react in this assumption. Is it possible that future people already have the balance with whole digital life? or another group are totally depressed and have an allergic reaction to digital approaches?

The public service system will be advanced and complex digitally. However, the efficiency for conducting service will be higher to face the quicker pace in society. Meanwhile, the action from organisation and prediction of the tendency in the society must be more intense. The government will still play the same role but require higher technical supporting and more effective for the more complicated challenge.

Delivering public service to the citizen will progress with high-tech, with the initial aim of supporting the citizen. Overall, The technology of delivery service is in constant changing, but the essence of government is constant.



Chia-ying Tsai
Chia-Ying Tsai

A Taiwanese multidisciplinary designer in the UK, working on human-centred design and social innovation. 旅英設計師,學做UX也學做服務設計。