Why your council should take advantage of web & mobile systems
A key advantage to introducing mobile systems is cost savings. In 2012 a SOCITM study of 120 local councils found the cost of contact for phone transactions averaged at £2.83, but only an impressive 15 pence for web enquires. Shaping Cloud has been working with local authorities within the adult and child social care arena, to reduce reliance on paper based systems. By utilising mobile devices to deliver outcomes directly, workers are spending more time in the field working with local citizens. Adopting this method also reduces the need for on premise technology, travel to and from an office, and related overheads.
You can do it
Bolton Council made the decision to ‘go mobile’ in 2012, having seen how well it was working for other councils, and delivered annual savings of £50,000 as a result. The introduction of mobile systems also improved response times, eliminated the backlog of inspections, reduced follow-up calls to their call centre and reduced fuel costs not to mention improving the work-life balance of employees.
Initially, Bolton Council selected Environment and Planning as a suitable test department as it had the highest number of fieldworkers and individual standalone systems. The department now has a fully working system allowing highway inspectors to use smartphones to receive route details directly from their central system. With a clear ROI achieved, they have now identified over 80 services which may also benefit from the implementation of a mobile system.
The investment opportunity
The introduction of tablet devices has fundamentally shifted our way of working, and it’s fair to say they are here to stay. Offering an impressive amount of power, portability and agility; tablets are being chosen by local authorities as the device of choice in the office and in the field, recognising that they will play an important role in years to come.
According to a study by the O2 Digital Community, 48% of people say they like to use the internet, mobile apps or social media for essentials like paying for council tax or getting information on local services, such as social care and education services. Interestingly in 2013, only 7% have been able to use these technologies to communicate with their local authority either because they are unavailable or don’t provide the information and services they need.