How to Build a Case Management Process in the Public Sector
Case work is the universal working style of government agencies. Everything from handling customer service inquiries to issuing permits to responding to weather events—in short, any workflow a public sector organization handles—is a “case” that requires a systematic approach from start to finish.
Case management involves tracking, processing, and resolving cases efficiently while providing transparency and accountability to stakeholders. A clearly defined approach to handling cases enables government agencies to achieve better results while delivering on their mission faster. Yet despite the prevalence of case work in the public sector, many agencies either lack a digital case management solution entirely or still rely on legacy, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions that make it difficult to work efficiently.
5 steps for successful case management in the public sector.
Let’s discuss the steps to building a successful case management process for your agency and what you should think about at each stage.
[ Want lessons learned from government agencies? Download our government case management eBook to learn the case management fundamentals that drive value. ]
Step 1: Define your requirements.
Before you begin building your case management process, it’s important to define your requirements. This involves identifying the types of cases your agency typically handles, as well as the goals you hope to achieve. Consider the following questions:
- What types of cases will your process handle?
- What is the expected volume of cases?
- Who will be responsible for managing cases?
- What are the expected service level agreements (SLAs) for resolving cases?
- What data and metrics will you need to track to measure success?
By answering these questions, you can start to establish a foundation for your case management process.
Step 2: Choose your case management solution.
Once you have defined your requirements, the next step is to choose a case management solution. Consider the following factors:
- Ease of use: How easy is the system to use? Will it require extensive training for your team?
- Features: What features are available, and how do they align with your requirements?
- Integration: Can the system integrate with your other tools and systems, such as your CRM, ERP, or email?
- Agility: Is the system fast and easy to update?
- Scalability: Is the system scalable to accommodate exponentially more cases as your needs evolve?
- Cost: Does the cost align with your budget?
According to Gartner, composable software increases resilience and enables faster innovation. Composable software is typically a better choice for case management than off-the-shelf software because COTS software is typically not scalable and is time-consuming and costly to update. And we know, updates are common in government applications and workflows and regulations frequently change.
Step 3: Develop your case management process.
With your requirements defined and your case management solution selected, it’s time to outline the steps for handling cases from start to finish. Some key steps to consider include:
- Case intake: How will cases be received by your agency? Will constituents be able to submit cases through a web form, email, or phone?
- Case routing: Once a case is received, how will it be routed to the appropriate person or team for resolution? Will there be different queues or categories for different types of cases?
- Case triage: How will cases be prioritized based on their severity or impact? Will you use SLAs to establish response and resolution times?
- Case resolution: How will cases be resolved, and by whom? What will your mix of human and digital workers look like? What steps will be taken to ensure a satisfactory resolution for the constituent?
- Case closure: Once a case is resolved, how will it be closed out in the system? What steps will be taken to ensure that the case is fully resolved, and that the constituent is satisfied?
By outlining these steps, you can establish a clear workflow for handling cases that aligns with your agency’s requirements. Note that automation can greatly enhance the case management process. For example, automated routing can streamline case intake and automated prioritization based on rules to minimize delays and improve outcomes in case triage.
Step 4: Train your team.
Once your case management process is defined, it’s time to train your team on how to use it—including the system itself as well as workflows to follow. It’s important to ensure that everyone involved in handling cases is fully trained and that they understand the importance of following the process. Ideally, you should select an intuitive system that requires minimal training.
Step 5: Monitor and optimize your process.
Once your case management system is up and running, monitor it to ensure that your processes are running effectively and efficiently and to identify areas for improvement. Some key metrics to track might include:
- Response times
- Resolution times
- Satisfaction rates
- Volume and types of cases handled
Your case management system should provide you with access to data and metrics that help you measure the effectiveness of your process, and you can solicit feedback from those who are involved in the process. And conducting periodic audits can ensure your process is being followed. A process mining tool is perhaps a more effective, objective way to uncover process inefficiencies and bottlenecks, optimize processes, and ensure regulatory compliance.
By continuously optimizing your case management process, you can ensure that it remains effective and efficient and that you are providing the best possible service to your constituents. This might involve making changes to the steps of your process, updating SLAs, or implementing new tools or technologies to improve efficiency.
It’s an ongoing process that requires regular attention and review. But the benefits of a well-designed case management process can be significant, including improved constituent satisfaction, more efficient use of resources, and better outcomes for your organization.
Learn more about case management for government agencies in our eBook, The Secret to a Streamlined Government.