Last month The Fourth Group hosted a Politician AI Hackathon which challenged teams to automate tasks politicians do. The winning team was Civic Triage, a customer service platform targeted at people who want to engage with government.
Here’s their pitch!
“How can we optimise citizens’ interactions with the state? We wanted to address a number of problems encountered by citizens, politicians, representatives and the public sector. A citizen wants quick, accountable answers while a representative wants to the last line of resort with oversight over the whole system and communication up to that point. The public sector can also benefit from the system as it reduces costs and meets the increasing demand. Civic triage seeks to provide a citizen-centric help desk, with AI triage to address these issues. Civic triage would act as a simple access point for public services which is multi channel (Facebook, email, twitter, SMS), can learn from users, can be white-labelled and is GDPR compliant. Civic triage is designed to handle huge volumes 24/7, improve the quality and speed of responses, gather clear and complete information on every query, capture and use metadata, increase accountability and ultimately, humanise bureaucracy.
Our grand vision incorporates every public service system from the NHS to the MP, Council and MP directly. We researched the need for such a system and found an exciting market opportunity with Citizens Advice who ultimately became our use-case to ensure we maximised our time in creating a pitch for the final day. Citizens Advice is a trusted UK brand, independent from the government with over 6.2 million cases a year from 1.9 million different people in the UK. They can achieve a high level of granularity in their reporting and through speaking with some Citizens advice representatives we found that they were actively looking to make AI a part of their strategy and ultimately improve caseload capacity. We estimated our AI approach, including process automation, could deliver 10-30% efficiency savings for Citizens advice as well as a much smoother user experience.
The product roadmap began in phase one with our chatbot as a proof of concept that could easily integrate with the Citizens advice and other systems. Phase 2 included oversight dashboards that had a public, private (individual) and supervising authority (including MPs) section where cases can be monitored and the public can see the performance of government services. The final phase of our roadmap was a multi channel system that is white-labelled, networked customer service (for direct government, arms-length government e.g. Quangos, NGOs and public service providers e.g. Serco). We presented phase one of our product, Civic triage, via an MVP chatbot mock up that shows a sample conversation in reporting dog mess, one really prime example of humanising bureaucracy. The hackathon allowed us two really solid days of research and mocking up an MVP where we could really get our point across. Where next? We want to deliver real value today. Citizens advice expenditure on delivering information, offering advice and investing in network infrastructure was £45 million last year. In local government the average cost of a phone enquiry is £7, online it’s 10p. Post Hackathon, we are quite excited to talk to Citizens advice and ultimately see what might be next for Civic triage and optimising citizens interactions with the state.”