As the use of digitalization and automated decision-making becomes more common in the public sector, civil servants and clients find themselves in an environment where automation and robot technology can be expected to make dramatic changes. Social service delivery in Trelleborg, Sweden, is the setting for a case study of the goals, policies, procedures, and responses to a change in how social assistance is delivered using automated decision-making. Interviews with politicians and professionals complemented with government documents and reports provide the empirical data for the analysis. Four value positions: Professionalism, Efficiency, Service, and Engagement, are used as the analytical framework. The findings reveal that the new technology in some respects has increased accountability, decreased costs, and enhanced efficiency, in association with a focus on citizen centricity. While the findings establish a congruence among instances of some value positions, a divergence is observed among others. Examples of divergence are professional knowledge vs. automated treatment, a decrease in costs vs. the need to share costs, and citizen trust vs. the lack of transparency. The study confirms the power of applying the value positions lens in e-Government research.
Bibliographical notePublished online: May 29, 2019
- Automated decision-making
- Public values
- Robotic process automation
- Social services