Human service agencies face some powerful forces of change. The digital revolution is changing and accelerating citizens’ expectations of services. While meeting these digital expectations, agencies must also protect privacy and confidential information. Human services agencies understand the challenge all too well. Addressing these new demands requires them to respond, adapt and evolve faster than ever.
But what about the policies and regulations that guide their activities? How can they support the ability to deliver services, measure outcomes and support policy agility? Traditional approaches to regulation are still rooted in an analogue world. This analogue approach places considerable focus on rules and checking or enforcing compliance with policy and regulations.
But in other sectors, notably financial services, we are seeing the emergence of a new approach. An approach that is bringing together business systems, regulatory compliance requirements, and innovative technologies in an area called RegTech. Rather than focusing on manual box-checking and satisfying rules, RegTech enables compliance that is driven by automation and insights.
While RegTech may have its origins in the financial sector, other industries such as Human Services are now beginning to explore the potential of RegTech applications in areas such as fraud prevention and identity management.
But we don’t need to stop there. Providing services to people – from job placement to welfare, and from education to child benefits –is a compliance-driven undertaking. Verifying identity, and determining eligibility, are two areas where strict compliance is essential. Investigating risks and fighting fraud, while also protecting very sensitive data also creates many critical compliance challenges. The challenge for many human service agencies is that with legacy-based and non-integrated systems, the cost of meeting compliance requirements creates a financial burden. Additionally, the drag that compliance imposes on operating efficiency can impede the speed, scale and scope of service delivery. This could leave many people in need waiting for services to begin or even worse not receiving services they need at all.
Human services agencies thus need to explore how RegTech could help them to address the compliance requirements they must fulfill, while at the same time increasing efficiency and delivering better services to citizens. In my next blog, I’ll look at some of the applications that RegTech could have, and the steps agencies should take to explore and harness their potential to propel their agencies towards the era of empowerment. To find out more about what the era of empowerment means for human services read our POV.
 Regulatory technology, also known as a “RegTech” is a new field within the financial services and other industries that utilize information technology to enhance regulatory processes. It puts an emphasis on regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliance.