Argyll and Bute Council saved almost £550,000 last year by encouraging customers to use more efficient self-service channels and providing them with increased online and voice-automated telephone options to get in touch about services.
The council has made significant improvements to the digital services it provides. In the past five years the potential savings of shifting to digital channels was around £1.5 million, helping the council meet growing demand for services in financially challenging times. The number of self-service transactions has increased by 41% (from 189,350 in 2012/13 to 336,203 in 2016/17).
The website is the initial point of contact and in the last year it has seen an increase of 17% in page views. The council has also invested in a new customer engagement system which has increased the digital channels available and improved accuracy and scope of voice-automated services.
The council also makes use of social media, with Twitter accounts having almost 11,000 followers and Facebook accounts with just less than 15,000 followers. The recent implementation of personalised MyAccount services links to the national authentication and single sign on services, will also contribute to future website use.
The public can now use online options for services including; changing a house name, register new streets and houses; pest control requests; obtaining copies of marriage, civil partnership or death certificates; and requesting sampling of a private water supply. They are able to access pre-planning application advice online and report anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, dog fouling, fly tipping and abandoned vehicles and request recycling and domestic bins and report road defects.
Councillor Rory Colville, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Corporate Services, said: “Providing excellent digital channels not only saves money, it gives customers more choice and is more convenient. More and more people are choosing to interact with the council via our website and the services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a time and place that suits them.
“We want to offer digital services that are so good that everyone who can use them will prefer to use them.”