By 2020, Local Councils will have faced a reduction to core funding of nearly £16 billion over the preceding decade. Despite this relative paucity of funding, councils are working hard to improve the services they deliver. One way to achieve this is to offer greater self-service facilities to residents, which many councils have found to improve engagement and reduce process efficiencies.
The truth is there will always be complex enquiries from residents that will require a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. But there are also a number of everyday dealings between residents and Local Councils – paying council tax, checking refuse collection days, paying parking penalties and so on – that can be facilitated through a well-designed self-service portal.
However, these self-service facilities are only as effective as the people, processes and technologies that sit behind them. Streamlining communication and collaboration throughout council functions is a key enabler for the effective roll-out and operation of self-service facilities for residents. In this article we consider five ways in which your Local Council can unlock potential avenues for delivering self-service to residents.
Streamlining communication and collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration can unlock the potential of resident self-service facilities. Here are five ways in which you can get your people working better together:
- Modernising unified communications capabilities: The latest unified communications technologies go far beyond basic telephony and instant messaging. Modern unified communications will facilitate self-service by enabling your people to respond to resident queries as efficiently as possible with intelligent communication capabilities; improve resident experience with advanced contact centre functionality; and manage resident communications across multiple channels with voice, video and messaging functionality.
- Reviewing and simplifying collaboration methods: Great self-service experiences depend on streamlined collaboration within and between Local Council teams. Simplified collaboration is a feature of many unified communication platforms. It provides a single, ubiquitous experience across the Local Council, enabling you to improve engagement and leverage cutting-edge collaboration tools without compromising security.
- Introducing enterprise mobile management: Today’s workspace extends far beyond the council office. In order to facilitate the flexible, agile working that sits behind self-service facilities, your people need to be able to operate whilst on the move. Enterprise mobile management allows you to enable remote working without risking security, empowering your people to create a more dynamic, efficient and scalable working environment.
- Deploying an appropriate network infrastructure: Your network infrastructure carries the heartbeat of your Local Council’s operations. It is the connectivity fabric that enables your Local Council to deliver the best possible services to its citizens. Deploying a network infrastructure with the appropriate levels of security, uptime and availability is essential to delivering the middle and back office services that sit behind resident self-service facilities.
- Ensuring a consistent security seam throughout your technology stack: Self-service introduces additional threat vectors to your Local Council; these need to be taken seriously and mitigated as far as possible. Effective security isn’t a collection of point security products such as firewall and antivirus, and it isn’t the occasional training course for your users. In today’s cybersecurity climate, security should be a consistent seam that runs throughout your technology stack, across people, processes and technology and at all levels.
Enabling Greater Self-Service to Residents
Local Councils throughout the UK are undertaking digital transformation activities that are making them faster and more effective at handling resident queries. One of the most visible ways in which this is happening is the introduction of self-service facilities to residents.
There are compelling arguments for why Local Councils should introduce further self-service capabilities for residents, but these facilities will only be as effective as the people, processes and technology that sit behind them. Your Local Council should consider engaging with an experienced technology partner to help introduce effective self-service facilities as part of a wider digital transition strategy.
Thomas Konopka is Industry Director Partner & Public Sector at Six Degrees, a leading cloud-led managed service provider that works as a collaborative technology partner to businesses making a digital transition. Six Degrees works collaboratively and builds long-term partnerships through exceptional services that match its clients’ needs. It continually innovates the right solutions to enable clients’ brilliance.