The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, 2021, provides critical relief for state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Government organizations have opportunity to better meet the needs of their citizens through funding to increase public health spending, mitigate the spread of Covid-19, increase access to vaccines and health services, replace lost public sector revenue, transform technology operations, and more.
While there are parameters for what government organizations can and cannot do with ARPA funding, there are many opportunities to streamline processes, modernize infrastructure, and improve the citizen experience. Here are three ways government can start using funding today.
Improve the Citizen Experience
Constituents, just like consumers in the private sector, have expectations for services to be modern, efficient, and accessible via mobile devices. What’s known in retail as “the Amazon effect,” the need for online experiences to be as convenient, smart, and accessible as Amazon, is applicable to government, too.
Robotic process automation (RPA) allows government to digitally transform their bureaucratic processes, automate services, and streamline operations, enhancing the citizen experience. Call center support, public record requests, fraud detection, and more are all processes that can be optimized with RPA to save time, money, and reduce errors.
Bring Transparency to Residents with Data Analytics
The pandemic has shown the need for state and local government organizations to stay grounded in data and make data-driven decisions. In 2020 when Covid cases were rising, there was public need for new case data and how we were flattening the curve. States that were already data literate, like Ohio, had the foundation laid for ensuring data was ready for the public, in an accessible and easy to understand manner.
This was, in many ways, due to Ohio’s investment in the InnovateOhio platform and commitment to an analytics center of excellence, which provides data governance and cross-agency data sharing opportunities to better serve state residents.
Organizations looking to improve their ability to share data internally, make data-driven decisions, and provide transparency to the public should invest in data analytics tools, services, and models and can leverage ARPA funds to do so.
Modernize Business Processes, Increase Employee Satisfaction
Eligible government organizations also have opportunity to improve payroll and benefits expenses for employees with ARPA funding. Funding accessibility is helpful since many modernization projects were put on hold during the pandemic, especially those relating to ERP systems and human capital management. Using ARPA funds to move legacy on-premise human resource and finance systems to a more secure cloud solution increases operational efficiency by having everything in one place, to connect transactions to analytics, understand costs, and standardize decisions, saving future time and money.
The funds available to state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments are substantial and offer opportunity to bring significant benefit to citizens. The right consulting partner can bring experience in planning, oversight, and administration of ARPA funds to ensure your state or local agency is in compliance with the applicable federal and state laws regulations, procedures and grant funding requirements.
American Rescue Plan Act funding must be spent by the end of calendar year 2024. Let’s schedule time to explore how your city or county could maximize the recovery and beneficial uses of ARPA funds for citizens