Innovation and changeGovernment TechnologyStudy reveals fewer than five per cent of councils are using AI

Study reveals fewer than five per cent of councils are using AI

The League Table represent the degree to which each council is using AI and other technologies like robotics and automation

The results of research dealing with the adoption of new technology by councils in the UK was published recently by Transformation Networks. The results, published through a League Table, revealed that under 5% of councils are using automation or AI for any ongoing projects.

The League Table includes ranking for 374 councils as of now.

Stephen Kelly, former COO of the UK Government and ex-CEO of Sage, said: “Local government is facing a perfect storm. Service demands have never been higher combined with acute financial pressures after recent years where opportunities for savings have already been made. The best way to protect the future of local council services and the communities is through the smart use of technology, such as robotic process automation and AI.

“Far from something to be feared, such technology can liberate employees from mundane, repetitive work and allow them to spend more time doing what people do best, and that’s providing front-line services to citizens.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be leading an organisation, and I am sure that the CEO’s of these councils will step up to embrace the opportunities.”

Transformation Networks says that the rankings were established following a year-long study based on Freedom of Information requests to each authority. Not all councils provided a complete response to the FOI request. The data has included accordingly, in order to ensure the most accurate results. In case of any additions or alterations, the councils could contact them with details and they will make the changes accordingly.

Funding issues

According to the Local Government Association, councils in England face a total funding gap of £8 billion by 2025, largely as a result of cuts in central government funding.

Jonathan Carr-West, Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) Chief Executive, said: “Increased demand coupled with the management of nearly a decade of cuts from the government has left local government at breaking point. Everyone is expecting someone to fail. They are just hoping it won’t be them.”

To counter the issues arising due to the funding gap, 97% of the councils say that they will look to increase council tax in 2019-2020. Just 4% of councils said that the additional revenues raised would be enough to close the funding gap, and 65% said they would have to spend their financial reserves in order to close the gap. Four in 10 councils are also planning to cut services.

One in 20 Councils have also admitted they fear they will be unable fulfil statutory duties due to funding issues.

Compelling case for using AI

AI support can address the high rates of burnout and skills gap amongst cybersecurity analysts, according to Piers Wilson, Head of Product Management, Huntsman Security.

Some of the councils that have already embraced RPA and AI are experiencing huge benefits. Automation has the potential to save large amounts of money, but many councils appear wary to make the initial required investment when budgets are already strained. That mood could shift with successful rollouts.

Matthew Cain, Head of Digital and Data from the London Borough of Hackney, said:“We’ve been able to show how a person doing a task that takes four minutes and 57 seconds, can be done by a robot in 27 seconds.

“By running those videos alongside each other we have been able to build an incredibly compelling case for colleagues across our different services.”

The London Borough of Hackney is sixth in the League Table. Newcastle-Under-Lyme District Council, North Norfolk District Council, and Surrey County Council are the top three as it stands. Hackney is the highest ranked council in the capital.

Apart from the councils mentioned above, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Durham County Council, Staffordshire County Council, Ashford Borough Council and Eastbourne Borough Council are placed forth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth respectively.

The Wyre Borough Council, Wyre Forest District Council and Isle of Wight Council are the bottom-most councils in the League Table, in the same sequence.

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