South Holland District Council offices.

Council aims for digital age

South Holland District Council is looking to save money by changing the way it deals with residents.

A new customer access strategy outlines plans to potentially save £206,000 a year by making the website the main point of contact.

“The council will prioritise online and automated services wherever possible,” said a report that went before cabinet members on Tuesday.

“Phone calls will be answered promptly, but not in preference to other more efficient contact channels,”
it added.

Currently 71 per cent of contact by residents is done via the telephone, with 21 per cent in person and 3.1 per cent online. But the council is aiming to make all contact with residents 50 per cent digital by 2022.

The report said the strategy provided “an opportunity for the council to not only improve customer experience of accessing services, but also to create efficiencies through the increased take-up of cost-effective contact channels,” cabinet members were told.

“The council recognises that not all customers have the digital skills or technology necessary to access its services online, and that it is important to make sure that no-one is disadvantaged by its plans to digitalise its services,” the report adds.

The council is also looking to ‘discourage’ payments by cheque and to also discourage emails.

Instead, the council wants to instigate the use of forms which can be completed

“People are embracing new technologies and using them in their everyday lives.

“The majority of residents access the internet on a regular basis, with 87 per cent having been online in the last three months,” the report said.

Face-to-face appointments will continue to be available for those who need them and help will be available to navigate the digital system.

The draft strategy says that while expectation and demand are both rising, the resources the council has available is reducing.

“We want our customers to have the best possible experience when they use them. Customers should experience seamless service where they are able to access everything they need,” the report says.

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