New report calls for replacing civil servants with robots

06 February 2017

A new report calls for inducting robots in place of thousands of civil servants to save the taxpayer billions of pounds.

According to Reform, a pubic-services think tank, 90 per cent of Whitehall's 137,000 administrative staff could be replaced with "artificially intelligent chatbots" by 2030, which would save 2.6 billion a year.

The 'Work in progress' report also called for smart machines and autonomous robots that would do the job of 250,000 public-sector workers.

It added 90,000 NHS administrators and 24,000 GP receptionists could be let go under the "radical" change to public services.

The report quotes evidence that estimated 30 per cent of nurses' activities could be automated, as also a similar proportion for doctors in certain specialities.

The move comes after the NHS announced that patients would be assessed by robots under a controversial 111 scheme to use ''artificial intelligence'' to ease pressures on Accident & Emergency units.

Over a million people would be given access to a free app which meant they could consult with a ''chatbot'' instead of a human being.

According to the think tank, the public sector could become the 'next Uber' if it used technology to deliver the taxpayer better value for money.

The report calls for an Uber-style "gig economy" model of workforce, where workers picked up jobs on a daily basis online.

With the move, agency workers in hospitals and schools could be eliminated. It would also help meet seasonal demands, when more workers were needed.

The current workforce was moulded around the ''siloed attitudes of yesterday's governments and fails to embrace technology and new ways of working to meet users' needs in the most effective ways.''

The report added, "A traditionalist mentality fails to cultivate a culture of change: mistakes are covered up, risk-aversion is rife and leaders have not built the workforce around the needs of users.''

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