Local councils usually lack digital resources, still using old hardware and traditional storage. This highly affects the work quality, and the processes are too slowly solved. But some of them have started implementing digitalisation among the biggest cities, trying to provide better solutions for the people.
There’s a need for these institutions to deliver local online transactional services so that people can find information more accessible and carry out these transactions, like electronic platforms that connect people. Read along to find out what else local councils do to adopt digital technology to improve citizens’ lives.
Government’s digital approaches
The government’s role in digital transformation is to deliver services and programs more efficiently, transparently and cost-effectively. Education, social care, emergency planning, waste, and recycling need better management too. The local council’s digitalisation can:
- Provide customers with a consistent end-to-end experience of service by link processing between organisations;
- Help service providers monitor performance through ongoing insight on how they are used;
- Enable organisations to share information online easily for operational and strategic purposes.
- Facilitate deployment and reduce costs;
In 2020, a report from the UK’s government showed how private, public and third-sector collaboration will future-proof infrastructure by eliminating the gap in basic digital skills for individuals, small businesses and charities. Moreover, they will provide businesses with ready-to-use digital capabilities and training.
What should councils focus on?
Regarding digital development, there are plenty of improvements to be done, such as:
- Omni-channels retailing and leisure to extend customer’s choices by engaging with retailers’ websites and apps;
- Personalisation and social media to recreate the classic one-to-one customer relationship;
- In-store experiences and street-trading for making shops digitally interactive and engaging to attract footfall;
- Marketing technologies for emerging contactless solutions (QR codes, NFC tags and BLE beacons);
Councils could also focus on digital parking solutions with an app or a website that could help you locate parking spaces, have flexible tariffs and benefit from cashless payments. Such apps can work by using customer data and accessing their information to recommend relevant local market offers and special events in the city.
But first, citizens need to gain trust in these approaches and offer enough information and data about the usage of such technologies. It’s not enough to just announce that they’re implementing digital solutions, it’s necessary to educate the people into using them to have great results.
Why do councils need to adopt technology?
The local council can sometimes be negligent, but this is why technology needs to be more consistent in their programs. Authorities can sometimes forget about some departments, like health and safety, where most people are affected by a lack of organisation.
An example of this negligence is recorded in the Recovery Unit of performance and data fields from the UK’s government page when more than 50.000 liability cases for accidents were registered last year to be caused by the council’s negligence. These injuries were mostly slips, trips or falls caused by:
- Public streets that were not adequately constructed (uneven paving stones or faulty maintenance holes);
- Public parks that might have broken swings, and kids can get easily hurt;
- Local roads (potholes and poorly managed road works);
Is there something to do if you’ve been involved in an accident caused by their mistakes and you’ve been hurt? Yes, you can file a compensation claim in the UK to cover your financial losses for medical purposes.
Luckily, if you can prove that your council has breached their duty of providing you with a safe environment (pictures of the accident, of your injury, witnesses’ declarations and CCTV footage), you can win the case. An advisor can help you with as much as £11,980 for a minor head injury.
What are some examples of digital councils?
Some cities have already started implementing technology solutions for their population. For example, the Gloucester City Council has started a Marketing Gloucester plan to test and develop town-wide future technologies, like opening a new national centre for digital retail innovation within a city shopping centre.
Or the Leeds City Council offered a free digital service that provides real-time key intelligent solutions for businesses (footfall or parking) and a communication hub for information sharing. Plus, the city council aims to transform transportation by delivering sustainable vehicles and expanding the roads for cycling, improving rail stations and having priority buses.
Aylesbury Vale District Council made all their services online. The ingenious idea to use Alexa (which most people have at home) for people to engage with the council directly is making them excited for future improvements. If they have questions regarding the tax or the bin day, Alexa is able to respond, being programmed to do so by the council.
There are many benefits of councils going digital, like:
- Effectiveness when employees don’t have to do the same monotonous tasks over and over. Instead, they can get creative and add strategic and innovative value to the council’s projects.
- Administrative efficiency gains, like saving money, time and resources, besides getting easier access to opportunities through automation.
Future technology solutions that councils propose
Increased and improved use of technology can help councils offer better public services and meet the needs of communities more effectively and efficiently, and, therefore, aim for:
- Helping buyers add cloud hosting, software and support from digital specialists into their business;
- Try network services for Health and Social Care systems, from telephony to local connectivity services;
- IT hardware to manage services, transport technology solutions and education technology;
- Adopting Cyber Security Services to manage and improve security functions;
- Have more technology solutions for education;
On top of that, distributed ledger technology is also considered for local councils. It could be inserted in the local waste management plan to record when every waste subcontractor had completed their task. Even citizens and local businesses could use it to record issues related to uncollected garbage. This greatly decreases transaction costs in delivering local services while providing transparency and participation for citizens.
Providing so many services to people will always be challenging, especially when discussing digitalisation. Therefore, mistakes are made sometimes, but the future of technology solutions is to be fully adopted by local councils too to make people’s lives easier.