By Claire Handby | Senior Manager | Advisory. EY
I attended the event ‘Shaping Demand in the public sector: using customer and behavioural insight’ on the 14 May 2015. This blog shares my point of view on the insight I gathered from the event so the following covers these thoughts.

The Agenda was a full one with some of my highlights including: How Wigan Council has been rising to the challenge of the ‘The Deal’ and supporting change within the community there; To Liverpool Council making the most of a large corporation withdrawing from their area, leaving behind SME’s who are super at embracing the digital agenda. They have been supporting the council to address some key Health and Social Care challenges, such as re-visiting ‘meals and wheels’ to create a ‘Helping Hands app’; With then Tameside sharing how they have been supporting their community to improve lifestyle choices, to drive healthier behaviours and attitudes, thus reducing demand on emergency health services.

The insight shared was very relevant to my current day to day role which is supporting thinking around the Greater Manchester Devolution requirements and what it means to the citizens across the 10 districts.

Throughout the event I couldn’t help but flip from personal to professional life and what all this content would mean to me as:
• A citizen – working mum, with 3 children under 8, ageing parents, a disabled niece;
• As well as what it means to the councils and the employees having to adapt, quickly to the need for ongoing change, especially to embrace digital and that no longer having an up to date, well maintained website is accepted as sufficient; and
• How professionally making a difference with my work in EY (Ernst and Young), with our key focus on how we can continue to live up to our values in supporting communities and client organisations such as councils to do all we can to continue ‘#build a better working world.’

I was inspired by the amount of people in the room that genuinely cared about doing the right thing for citizens, articulating the current thinking, the journey’s they have been on in some cases both personally and within their organisations. It was a very refreshing, thought provoking and relevant event to attend.

Some of my key take away thoughts are:

• Small changes can make a big difference, then market the message well – such as changing the format of a council tax letter following ‘behavioural economic research’ has resulted in a significant increase to council tax being paid on time for Wigan council;
• As well as council websites, the need for more innovation as no longer can it be viewed as the route to council support – i.e. the example of a you-tube video to physically show a more effective pathway to answers i.e. a wheelchair bound disabled person showed how to navigate a challenge they had in this way instead of clicking here, there and everywhere on a council website;
• The need to be Agile – councils recognise a need to continue to find ways to streamline their processes and red tape, challenging the status quo and that using statements like ‘we have always done it like this’ is an out-dated remark; and
• The only thing certain is ‘change’ and things are definitely moving at pace for everyone – individual citizens, the Local/City councils, the UK and Globally.

Finally, I thought it might be useful if I attach a link which EY has written recently following key research and our experience in exploring ‘Megatrends’ forecasting out to 2030. I have found this a very interesting read particularly from a workplace perspective but also with having a family too. Additionally whilst it’s written from a global point of view, the messages can be drilled down to a local ‘Council’ level, with relevance to yesterday’s event and it may well further support conversations you’re having internally to influence framing a strategic outlook, from ‘here and now’ or ‘typical long term planning of say 10 years.’

Claire Handby | Senior Manager | Advisory. EY

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