Switching to online technology

The borough council is using digital technology to cut costs but says it will make services better for residents.

Senior councillors were asked to agree on Tuesday to the launch of the Switched On vision - a new council website and online forms package.

It will make it much simpler for people to personalise their online activity, complete processes, book appointments, submit requests and securely make payments via computer or mobile phone.

It will be rolled out from April and is set to help the council make the £6.6 million worth of savings it is expected to over the next three years.

The council said it means front-line staff can spend less time in the office bogged down with paperwork and more time completing tasks in the communities and neighbourhoods where it matters most.

The borough council’s Deputy Chief Executive, Hilary Jones, who is spearheading the programme of change that’s been branded SWITCH, said: “Digital technologies have become central to society, economy and culture and increasingly government and public services are migrating to digital means.

“There is now a large body of research and evidence to support a business case for investment and utilisation of digital technologies. This demonstrates they can play a big part in helping public sector organisations to reduce costs while actually improving access to and delivery of services.

“Ultimately, we intend to provide online channels which are so simple and easy to use that people choose to go on to our website to access services and pay bills, rather than phone or visit us in person, which we know some people find frustrating because of the limitations of office opening times.

“In the coming months and years we will work hard to promote our website and encourage people to get online, while making sure we are still offering the best possible service to those residents who will always prefer traditional methods of contact.

“Looking to the future, we will also make sure we equip our staff with the tools and technology that enables them to do the most effective and efficient job.”