South Kesteven District Council (SKDC) in Lincolnshire has chalked up a national first by embracing new technology that helps budget efficiencies and protects vital services at the same time.
It is the first district council in the UK to adopt a form of analytics technology that saves money, identifies service improvements and has the potential to generate a revenue income for the authority.
The data analytics system was introduced earlier this year and initial estimates suggest that it could unlock internal resources and generate capacity, which in turn could save the authority £44,000 annually.
“The software is supporting a cultural shift in traditional local authority working,” said the Deputy Leader of the council, Councillor Kelham Cooke.
“At a time when local authorities need to act more like businesses to continue delivering excellent services, we need to overcome traditional barriers to technology or risk being left behind.”
The new system, using software development by Panintelligence, allows the most up to date information to be utilised by services across the authority. This supports the teams in their work and enables the whole organisation to gain a better understanding of the data it already has.
“We know the amount of data we hold is a treasure trove of information and with the new system that data can now help us transform operations, save money and identify new revenue streams,” said Councillor Cooke.
“Also, on a cultural level we wanted to move into a world where monitoring performance is as immediate, natural and easy as checking your phone or emails and this system supports that.”
The software has already significantly improved customer services processes. By identifying trends in enquiries, it has enabled the council to tailor rotas for quicker and more effective customer responses and identify those enquiries that take longer and why.”
SKDC plans to roll out the technology across its services, from homelessness prevention and rent arrears, to housing repairs and lettings.
“As well as helping the council be more efficient, we are always seeking to improve outcomes for customers,” said Councillor Cooke.
“This predictive modelling capability will, for instance, enable us to identify where people are most likely to fall into debt and intervene early, hopefully catching the problem before it turns into a vicious cycle, and ultimately help us keep that person in their home.
“We can also create additional revenue by reducing our operational costs, which translates into more and better services.
“By identifying trends in housing repairs, we can improve customer service by tackling problems before they happen. For example, we can identify whether certain types of boilers are prone to faults, and fix them quickly, and reduce overspending and repeat property visits by ensuring vans are stocked with the right parts the first-time round.”
The software is also being used by the council’s revenue and benefits and planning departments.
SKDC plans to work in partnership with Panintelligence to showcase it to other local authorities and highlight how it can help them combat budget pressures and improve productivity.