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Building Trust Through Modernization

In this Q&A, we discuss how a connected, powered and trusted government can improve the quality of citizen engagement and enhance government recruiting.


Lorna Stark, Government Sector Leader for KPMG, describes how a connected, powered and trusted government can improve the quality of citizen engagement and enhance government recruiting.

Over the past year, we've seen big changes in what people expect of government. How does KPMG define modern government today?

At KPMG we talk about government being connected, powered and trusted. “Connected” means governments are collaborating and sharing information. They're transparent. If agencies all worked together, shared their data, and shared their technology platforms that serve the same set of constituents and residents, we could make more progress.

“Trust” is important in that context. As a citizen, I need to feel comfortable sharing my data with government. And “powered” means using technology in the right way to get you to where you want to go, faster.

Can you talk about the business case for modernization?

In our research, 72 percent of senior executives said that outdated technology has hindered their ability to effectively recruit talent. Younger generations don’t want to work in a place that's completely different than everything else they've experienced in their lives.

Things like intelligent automation and robotics have helped to make processes more efficient. It's not replacing people; it's making people's jobs easier to do – and maybe even making it more fun to do their jobs. In that way, modernizing technology helps governments attract the next generation of the public workforce.

Is modernization partly about empowerment?

Yes – that is where the “power” piece comes in, too. It's not just about how government delivers services and powering that with technology. It's also powering your human resources and recruiting functions.

A new hire’s experience starts the day they first interact with you. Governments are competing with a lot of employers. It creates a negative impression if that first experience is a clunky, old and manual process.
In the past, there was little money available to address this. With the CARES Act and now the American Rescue Plan, there are monies for modernization in there to improve this. It's probably not enough, but it's a good start.

Can you talk about the “trusted government” aspect?

Fifty-six percent of the citizens that we surveyed said they trusted government. COVID has had an impact on that in both directions, positively and negatively. Trust is still about the security of your information, but it is also about whether you even want to share your information with government.

Modernization helps with that. Maybe we don’t have to provide the government with our same information five or six or seven times. Maybe it's just one time. People do want government to be the single source of truth. They expect that from their government.

What about trust among government entities?

It's hard to overcome that fear of sharing information. You have to trust that your peers in another part of government are trying to solve the same problems that you are. But there's so much data available now that can help us – not only with the immediate need of COVID-related services, but with the economic recovery. We need to figure out a way to move ourselves forward in that direction.