Argyll and Bute Council’s new digital TV and smartphone information service – Argyll and Bute Looking Local – will go live from Monday 26 November.
Looking Local is part of the council’s efforts to make its services as accessible as possible and to enable customers to deal with the council using the channels that are most convenient for them.
The new service means that council customers will be able to access over 400 pages of information about council services from their TV sets and smartphones. They can also interact with the council to request a range of services and report issues.
The content is sourced from Argyll and Bute Council’s highly rated website and viewers can check the latest council news and service disruption information, which are updated using live feeds. Information is available about all council services and it also provides links to national services including NHS24, JobCentre Plus and Transport Direct. The interactive part of the service will allow customers to report a range of issues such as potholes and to request a number of popular services such as library book renewals.
Argyll and Bute Looking Local will initially be available for existing Sky TV and Virgin Media customers, smartphone users and customers who have connected their Wii games consoles to broadband. As it will be delivered by services that customers already subscribe to, there is no cost to receive it and the service will also shortly be available on the new national Freeview service YouView.
Argyll and Bute Council’s Lead Councillor for Customers and Communication, Louise Glen-Lee, said: “Argyll and Bute Looking Local extends the reach of our digital information services to those customers who do not use internet services and those who prefer to access them using mobile devices.
“It builds on efforts we have made to open up new channels for customers to access information about and interact with the council, such as the 24/7 automated payment service introduced earlier this year.
“We hope the new Looking Local service will benefit citizens at both ends of the technology-using spectrum. People uncomfortable using the internet can now get council information through their Sky or Virgin Media TV channels in the comfort of their home. Similarly, the tremendous take up of smartphones and mobile technology means an increasing number of people are seeking information on the go. Argyll and Bute Looking Local provides an information and service request medium for both these audiences and indeed anyone who prefers these access channels instead of using a PC.”
1 Ofcom statistics show that 54 per cent of rural households in Scotland subscribe to Sky TV and 14.5 million households in the UK subscribe to Sky and Virgin Media combined.
2 Ofcom statistics show that the number of adults in Scotland with smartphones rose from 21 per cent to 32 cent over the past year.
3 The Looking Local service has been funded from ring-fenced Scottish Government modernising government funding aimed at improving customer service. The service will cost £20,000 in the first year.