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Local government must move beyond channel shift to enable a smarter digital state

By taking a 360 degree approach to service delivery, local authorities can ensure they fully respond to the digital agenda of not just today, but also tomorrow.

According to the Local Government Association, local authorities face a funding shortfall of £12.4 billion by 2020. This means that urgent, wholesale change is an imperative. Successfully modernising and digitising services is critical to meeting these continued cost pressures and the changing demands of the citizen as, according to the Office for National Statistics, almost 90% of British adults used the internet in the last three months, including 40% of people aged over 75.

Whilst the majority of people in the UK are digitally savvy and automatically expect digital interactions with organisations, local authorities face an additional challenge. They must continue to meet the needs of digitally excluded citizens and those who still prefer or have no option but to use face-to-face or telephone contact. Especially as, according to Go ON UK, 23% of UK adults still don’t possess basic digital skills.

Many local authorities have already taken steps to move services online. This has not brought the savings and improvements needed, however, and it also hasn’t taken into account those digitally excluded citizens. As discussed in our Changing Landscape series of reports, to fully respond to the government’s digital agenda and meet the needs of the entire population, they must go beyond this simple channel shift and take a “360 degree” approach to digital transformation.

To effectively transform and deliver future proofed services, local authorities need to:

Capture data and interactions effectively

Councils have to know what their community want and need in order to allocate a budget and manage services efficiently. Multi-channel solutions that effectively capture data and information from all customer and employee interactions are crucial. As communication channels continue to diversify, marrying up ad-hoc information from telephone calls, emails, paper and online forms used in various situations can be challenging if done manually. Solutions are now available which automate this process, helping authorities save time and minimise errors.

Deliver seamless integration

Data and information from all customer, employee and partner interactions need to be seamlessly integrated between the front and back office. By getting the right information and data into the line of business systems, a council’s delivery of services can become much more efficient and effective.

Communicate in real-time with enriched Intel

A well informed customer is a happy customer. They should not need to contact the council to find out what’s going on. By providing proactive updates via preferred channels and empowering customers to track their service requests online, councils can further reduce avoidable contact. Additionally, a joined up and holistic digital approach can provide authorities with enriched management information that is needed to further understand their customers’ needs and help put in place meaningful service demand management strategies.

Through Digital360, which has been designed to help local authorities transform service delivery for the citizen of today and tomorrow, Civica is helping public sector organisations embrace true digital transformation. Already a number of local authorities have adopted this 360 degree approach and are now achieving the savings, efficiencies and improved customer satisfaction required to respond to today’s digital agenda.

Harrow Council, for example, is now dealing with 91% of customer contact across all channels at first point of contact. Eastbourne Borough Council is set to achieve savings of £5 million and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has reduced processing times from 24 to 6 days.

By moving beyond channel shift and taking a 360 degree approach to service delivery, local authorities can ensure they fully respond to the digital agenda of not just today, but also tomorrow.

 

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