East Ayrshire Council is extending the use of its online booking application to as many of its services as possible in an effort to increase efficiency savings.
The Scottish council has been introducing the Connect booking application from Swedish software supplier Lorensbergs to new front-line and corporate services throughout 2006 and the first part of 2007.
A council spokesman said, "The system will ensure that members of the public can book an appointment and be informed of the documents they need to bring and who needs to attend appointments without any initial interaction with council staff. This reduces the amount of time that employees spend on these activities."
The Connect application was originally used by employees to book meetings internally. Council officers first tested the application with members of the public when they enabled people to book PCs in libraries online.
People can also book times at the council's recreation and leisure facilities.
The police and health authorities in East Ayrshire have been given access to the application so that they can book meetings with council officers.
Connect is replacing all of East Ayrshire's manual processes for booking council resources. The application will be integrated with the council's payments application so that online bookings and payments can be processed seamlessly.
The council said, "The problems that we have encountered in this project to date have generally been in the area of business process re-engineering when staff have been required to adopt new working practices.
"We have overcome these problems by implementing the system on a pilot basis to enable staff to gain first-hand experience of the benefits to be gained from the use of the system before the system is rolled out to a wider audience."
People living in East Ayrshire have to use the council's Customer Contact Gateway (CCG) as the means of authenticating themselves. The CCG creates customer accounts that can be used instead of other means of identification.
East Ayrshire's website was ranked among the seven best council websites in the UK in a Society of Information Technology Management survey published earlier this month.
The council is currently replacing an SAP enterprise resource planning system with one from Civica.
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