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Barriers and solutions to enhancing public service delivery

January 07, 2022
Three people discuss how to overcome barriers and improve public service delivery.

Today’s public sector agencies have better tools, stronger infrastructure, and, in many cases, better access to funding. Despite this, improving public sector service delivery has remained a significant challenge across the board.

While improving service delivery in the public sector may be challenging, fortunately there are strategies that agencies and their leadership can use to work through and overcome some of the most common obstacles.

Common public sector challenges

While every agency faces unique challenges, the most common ones can be categorized into a few problem areas that affect the social service sector as a whole, including: 

  1. Staffing capacity. Public sector employees have many responsibilities and limited time. In addition, as the public sector landscape becomes more complex due to the increasing volume of new programs,  employees’ responsibilities continually grow. Ultimately, social service workers and other support personnel are the front lines for providing services, and enabling them to do their jobs effectively and sustainably is a primary concern for those interested in improving public sector service delivery.
  2. Organization. Although government agencies may provide high-quality services, they usually don’t have the time or resources to expand their operational capacity. Still, having an effective and organized service delivery strategy is key to catalyzing change. Building bandwidth to handle important operational concerns, such as software implementation, agency case management processes, and methods for measuring outcomes is just as critical as frontline service delivery itself. 
  3. Funding. Funders, particularly government funders, are in control when it comes to improving public service delivery. Because most social service organizations rely on a combination of public and private funding, public sector organizations need to comply with adjustments to federal grant requirements. These changes can be an asset if they spur agencies and organizations to explore new and more effective strategies to improve their service delivery. 

If your public sector organization faces any of these challenges, there are many solutions available to help you. To gain a detailed picture of how your organization can improve service delivery, consider asking your employees to complete a survey so you know where to begin. 

Public service delivery strategies

Fortunately, many agencies can and are overcoming all of these challenges, and your organization can, too. Here’s how:

  1. Focus on the organization first. Through strong, evidence-based case management practices, public sector organizations can become the most efficient and effective versions of themselves. This can take some of the burdens off their employees and service providers while also producing compelling results grounded in data to prove their value to funders. Meet with your staff to figure out which organizational issues to prioritize. 
  2. Invest in case management software. Employing the proper case management and outcomes data tracking software to go along with this evidence-based approach is a necessity. Having the right technology and data strategy behind the scenes can empower your frontline workers to do their jobs more effectively while enabling your agency to track the metrics that matter to stakeholders.
  3. Outsource services. Additionally, public sector organizations can alleviate the burden of overextending their employees by enlisting the help of private sector entities. Outsourcing some publicly-operated services to external parties strengthens public organizations’ capacity to do high-quality work for their constituents. Many local governments have already outsourced services such as garbage removal and public transportation so that employees can focus on other responsibilities.  

Getting in contact with private sector partners, communicating with your staff, and investing in the right software solutions are easy next steps for getting your organization on track for success. 

Improving public service delivery

When you have powerful, user-friendly technology at the core of your operation, you can improve your team’s efficiency and apply your time to critical capacity-building initiatives that can enhance your service delivery and results. 

Take stock of issues specific to your organization and how they’re limiting you. Then, consider how to apply these tips to make meaningful strides in your organization’s operations. A specialized approach is the best way to address your employees’ needs and provide more value to your constituents, so be sure to work closely with your stakeholders throughout the entire problem-solving process.

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    Program Management
  • Human services
  • Nonprofits
  • Public agencies
  • Coordinating social services