Social services

2023 Censuswide survey: Reduce the admin burden in the public sector with speech recognition

Delivering essential services quickly is crucial to any public sector professional’s role—especially in social work, where clients’ wellbeing is often at risk. But the documentation and administrative demands on caseworkers often come at the cost of their personal time and wellbeing. To explore this problem, and highlight some potential solutions, we surveyed more than 100 public sector professionals to see how they manage documentation today. Here are the key takeaways.

In the public sector, the quality of a case narrative can directly affect the quality of the service a client receives—which ultimately affects their lives.

It’s an intense pressure for caseworkers to bear in their daily roles, even as they work hard to connect relevant service provider organisations (SPOs) to clients and create the best possible outcomes.

However, connecting the dots for clients can often come at the cost of caseworkers’ personal time and wellbeing, and even lead to burnout. No director or department leader wants to put this kind of pressure on their teams, but sometimes it can feel like there’s no alternative.

To explore this challenge, we partnered with Censuswide to survey more than 100 public sector professionals to find out exactly how the admin tasks in their roles affect their days—and how productivity tools like speech recognition can help them save time and make their jobs easier.

Here’s what we found.

Public sector professionals spend nearly four hours typing every day

Nearly all public sector professionals (95%) report spending more than an hour a day typing, with the average professional spending 3.6 hours every day.

For caseworkers, a lot of this time is taken up by repetitive tasks such as inputting iterative data into SPO forms—like names, dates of birth, and addresses—to create a cohesive plan for their clients. And with many caseworkers handling more than 25 cases at a time, it’s easy to see how these documentation demands can get out of hand.

Our survey revealed that this kind of work can often get in the way of serving clients effectively. Just over half (52%) of public sector professionals say admin work takes time away from adding value for clients, and 59% said they’d enjoy their roles more if they didn’t have as much repetitive admin work. Concerningly, 42% said their hands often hurt from typing at the end of the day.

While there are a few organisations using resources such as internal and external typists to take on some of these admin tasks, the public sector uses these services less than any other sector surveyed. A huge 66% of public sector organisations are doing little to support their professionals with admin burden at all. But there are some forward-thinking public sector organisations taking a more modern approach to documentation.

Speech recognition speeds up repetitive admin tasks

Some public sector leaders are equipping their people with speech recognition technology to reduce the time it takes to complete repetitive documentation tasks.

In the case of social work, many caseworkers are using the technology to accelerate form population and report completion—making it easy to input data while in the office, out in the field, or at clients’ residences, where a keyboard often isn’t available.

Of the public sector professionals from our survey using speech recognition today, 65% say it saves them time—with the average professional saving 1.3 hours every day.

These time savings are put to good use, too. Nearly a third (30%) of public sector respondents say they can finish work earlier and spend more time with their friends and families, while 44% have been able to put more time into communicating with clients and improving relationships.

And one of the biggest benefits the technology offers for department leaders is that it helps them reduce burnout among their employees.

Public sector organisations are preventing burnout in their teams

As well as saving time in their days, a significant 71% of public sector professionals said speech recognition has helped them reduce the burden that admin work has on their roles. For department leaders managing teams who are already stretched too thin and on the edge of burnout, the technology offers a powerful way to support their people.

Nuance’s speech recognition solution, Dragon Professional, was designed with public sector professionals in mind and has capabilities tailored to their roles. For example, many public sector professionals use the tool to automate repetitive tasks such as inputting boilerplate text with a single utterance and transcribing client interviews.

When caseworkers are empowered with capabilities like these and have more manageable workloads in their days, it’s more likely they’ll be able to keep documentation accurate, and prevent vulnerable clients and their families from slipping through the cracks.

See what your teams could achieve with speech recognition

We’ve only covered a snapshot of what’s possible with speech recognition in the public sector today. Speak to one of our experts to explore how you can empower your professionals with speech recognition—and prevent burnout across your teams.

Get in touch

Discover how you can reduce the burden of admin for your caseworkers and prevent burnout across your teams, by talking to one of our experts today.

Learn more