Expansion planned at Belfast-based Equiniti ICS

2020 was a year of change and transformation at Equiniti ICS. Despite facing an unprecedented market landscape, not previously witnessed in its 50-year history, Equiniti ICS pushed forward, investing in new product development and winning orders in excess of £20 million.

Among the key achievements delivered last year were projects for the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA); the two UK Government departments that are responsible for both the collection and publication of statistics relating to the economy and the population. Both organisations have been at the centre of collecting and reporting data pertinent to the Covid-19 pandemic. Equiniti ICS was able to react quickly and provide the technology needed, which has underpinned the significant increase in the workload of ONS; their requirements having increased by almost 400 per cent during the last six months.

Locally Equiniti ICS has provided NISRA with an updated survey management system in the form of a new portal. This portal enables users to access the survey platform across multiple device types, from any location and is available 24/7, allowing businesses to continue to supply key survey data despite the COVID-19 restrictions impacting office-based working.

Another direct impact of the pandemic has been the wide-ranging acceleration of digital transformation. Whilst this ‘change initiative’ has been active for over a decade in the public sector, departments are now embracing it more readily in the face of current circumstances. The Northern Ireland Local Government Officer’s Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) operates and manages the pension scheme for local government and other similar bodies in Northern Ireland. Equiniti ICS has worked in partnership with NILGOSC on its transformation programme, providing consultation services based on our expert knowledge of how to manage and leverage data effectively against a backdrop of change.

Another main issue dominating the headlines has been Brexit, and Equiniti ICS has been at the forefront of providing solutions to the UK Government in helping support its exit from the EU. Among its recent wins has been a new case management system for the Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA); a new government department set up to monitor the UK’s implementation and application of the citizens’ rights section of the EU Withdrawal Agreement. The system has been designed to manage and monitor complaints raised by citizens via the Complaint Assessment Tool (also provided by Equiniti ICS). All complaints will be triaged, assessed and investigated through the system workflow. In the scenario that a complaint or several complaints of similar type are upheld, they will be aggregated to become an inquiry. The system inquiry process then manages the need to engage various sources, gather and store evidence and subsequently produce a recommendation report, or in certain circumstances enforce a legal action or change. This project had very challenging timescales from procurement to delivery. From being awarded the contract in July 2020, Equiniti ICS delivered the initial system within a tight timeframe, with user testing taking place in September, ready for launch on 1 January in line with the Brexit timescales.

The growth and the success the business has experienced is set against a backdrop of the current pandemic, with the company’s staff continuing to provide uninterrupted services to its clients. This has meant continued solution implementation and service provision, whilst staff work remotely. Despite transitioning from office-based to remote working, staff have embraced the challenge, utilising collaboration tools to work effectively whilst apart, underscoring the agility and adaptability of the organisation in the face of a challenging business environment.

Equiniti ICS plan to build on the success of 2020, with the business preparing for significant expansion to its Belfast centre later this year. This growth will be fuelled by the company’s approach to innovation. Through the continual research of global trends in the provision of public sector services, Equiniti ICS seek to develop new leading-edge solutions that deliver clear value to customers. The company uses market leading Horizon Scanning systems to pick up ‘mega’ and ‘macro’ trends, which provide fresh insights into the latest technology that feeds the company’s product development.

“Horizon Scanning systems pick up ‘mega’ and ‘macro’ trends, which provide fresh insights into the latest technology that feeds the company’s product development.”

Equiniti ICSs Outreach product is the company’s ‘citizen portal’; a flexible easy-to-use portal with an automated forms management system, which can quickly digitise any citizen facing engagement. Outreach has already gained significant customers across the UK and Ireland including Her Majesty’s Passport Office, Legal Aid Agency, NISRA and The Cabinet Office to name but a few.

Perito vNext is the pre-release name for its new cloud-based case management system, featuring robotic processing and machine learning functionality, which will fully automate departmental processes. vNext builds upon the proven capability of the Equiniti ICS Perito case management platform which provides solutions aligned to complex customer requirements and extends this capability across a 100 per cent client configurable service. vNext is designed to be highly flexible and is available on the public cloud, private cloud or on premise. In combination with a highly innovative and intuitive UX design and user interface vNext will help drive the adoption of automation and digitisation across government departments.

These are examples of just two of the latest innovative products from the company’s innovation portfolio, a pipeline of new solutions that will drive digital transformation across government.

2020 will remain long in the memory. Not only as the year we endured a global pandemic, but from a business point of view it will be regarded as a defining moment for the workplace. Organisations previously resistant to change are now benefiting from increased efficiency, easier collaboration, and have opened a host of new communication channels with customers and citizens, all as a result of enforced transformation.

Perhaps most crucially of all, on top of operational benefits will be a longer-term acceptance and openness to the benefits that change brings. Features such as RPA and machine learning will no longer be viewed as a nice to have, but for organisations to continue their journey in to an ever-evolving digital landscape, they will be essential in order to help us proactively improve our organisations and allow us to react to unforeseen circumstances in the future. Equiniti ICS are moving forwards into 2021 in the perfect position to partner with and help these organisations realise the benefits of such digital changes.

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