AI could save public sector workers millions of hours as elections dawn

A person holding out their hand with a digital AI symbol.
(Image credit: Shutterstock / LookerStudio)

With elections looming in the UK, Microsoft has unveiled a new report detailing the significant potential for artificial intelligence within the public sector.

The study highlights how AI could alleviate the administrative burden associated with public sector workloads by enhancing efficiency and worker satisfaction, offering up solutions to ensure progress with the technology.

According to Microsoft’s report, each public sector worker could save more than four hours each week by using AI to speed up administrative tasks.

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With an estimated 5.93 million public sector workers in the UK, Microsoft estimates that the nation’s economy could be losing 23 million hours each week to poor efficiency.

Among the key findings was that the administrative workload is severely affecting both the effectiveness and the motivation of workers, with more than half of those surveyed reporting that excessive administration tasks are diminishing their job performance (55%) and satisfaction (54%).

With the average worker spending eight hours per week managing information and data, around half say that the quality of service they provide has been compromised (48%) and that the time they can spend with the public or patients has been impacted (49%).

Microsoft has issued no fewer than seven recommendations for Britain’s next government in order to claw back lost time and boost the economy, including the formation of a National AI Delivery Center responsible for driving AI adoption across government departments.

Among other recommendations, the tech giant also wants the UK to implement a comprehensive upskilling strategy and to introduce a set of AI guiding principles.

Microsoft Vice President for External Affairs, Hugh Milward, summarized: “If AI is rolled out effectively across public services and the administrative burden is reduced, there’s huge potential to enable front line public sector workers to spend more of their critical time on delivering front line work.”

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