Local government organisations have been under financial pressures for a number of years now and it doesn’t seem like this will be easing off any time soon with almost half of UK councils (168) no longer receiving any central funding from 2019/20 budgetary year. To add to this, local authorities are having to contend with the ever-changing government and public services landscape along with navigating the Brexit agenda. All these challenges mean there is now more than ever the need to leverage technology to assist in relieving some of these pressures.
After meeting with technology leaders from a number of the UK’s largest councils, it is becoming apparent that some of the more progressive, forward thinking councils are focusing less on driving costs out of existing IT infrastructure and estates and instead looking at ways of actually generating revenue and delivering a better citizen experience but the key question is how. In this blog, we’ll take a look at 3 ways leading councils are using technology to innovate and stand out from the rest:
Building big data platforms
It’s no secret that data can help local authorities to make services more personalised, efficient and drive revenue – this is exactly what Salford City Council are doing to focus on Economic Development and collect business rates. The council is consolidating data across multiple line of business systems and external systems such as Experian and Companies House to identify the growth across the city whilst ensuring collection of business rates are at the correct levels. The Council will then utilise ML and AI to predict future growth and identify businesses across the city. This will enable the council to deliver the following outcomes:
The Internet of Things (IoT) has rapidly become one of the most familiar terms across business and technology. Gartner expect to see 20 billion internet-connected things by 2020. These “things” are not general-purpose devices, such as smartphones and PCs, but are dedicated-function objects, such as vending machines, bins, connected cars. An example and use case which seems to resonate with majority of IT leaders is around smart parking.
Using IoT sensors, we can now process real-time accurate individual parking space availability and share this data with popular navigation mobile apps as well as integrating the solution with custom mobile apps to reduce parking stress, traffic congestion and air pollution. As this technology develops, we can begin to integrate a number of other feeds such as weather, time of day and public event schedules, to see how they impact parking. Over time it then gives organisations the capability – using AI and ML to forecast parking.
Utilising “Bot” Technology
Almost all councils still receive phone calls and walk-ins from citizens who would like to pay their council tax and access other council services because there is currently no mechanism to engage with their local council digitally. We are now engaged with a number of councils looking to automate and improve citizen experience through development and “Bot” technology. Some councils are exploring avenues such as talking to a device at home, with no keyboard or screen, that connects to a digital ecosystem at the back-end and handles their request. If something went wrong with one of the services provided by your local council, you could simply turn to a personal digital assistant in your home and it would contact the right people.
So if, for example, you were expecting your household waste to be collected at 10am but the bin men failed to arrive, you could tell your personal assistant / or digital Bot about the situation and ask when they were due. The assistant would, in turn, alert the lorry driver who could come back with an answer almost immediately or actively re-schedule the bin collection.
There is no getting away from the fact that council’s need to evolve to better meet the needs of citizens. Councils of the future are set to be lean, agile and data-driven, delivering a wide range of seamless services to local communities and ANS are here to make it happen.
With our proven capability in migrating council’s data and services to the cloud as well as delivering transformational IoT solutions, we can ensure your local council exceeds your community’s expectations. Knowing where to start on this digital transformation journey can be daunting. Whether redefining business process with AI or ML, making efficiency savings through IoT or using cloud native applications to transform your organisation, our assessment services will show you how to adopt next generation technology to successfully deliver your business ambitions.
To find out more about our assessment services, click here.
Alternatively, to hear from one of our customers, check out our on-demand webinar with Jon Burt, Head of Technology Operations and Infrastructure at Salford City Council as he explains how the council is embracing in-depth business intelligence capabilities, including Big Data and IoT initiatives to not only improve local services but also transform the way the council interacts with residents.
Watch the webinar on-demand here.