Councils deliver savings through digital initiatives

Projects under the Digital Channel Shift programme reported fivefold return on investment

Initiatives under the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Digital Channel Shift programme have delivered savings to councils worth over five times the initial investment. 

According to a report on results under the LGA’s Sector-Led Improvement (SLI) programme, savings of £1.7m were obtained from the 21 channel shift projects, which received total funding of £307,000 from the LGA. 

The projects – for which most councils received £15,000 in funding each – are mainly related to service redesign and shifting provision to digital or creating new offerings online. 

The aim of the digital initiatives, according to the LGA, is to meet the challenges of decreasing funding and rising user demand by increasing the ability of citizens to self-serve. 

Examples of projects include an initiative at Scarborough Borough Council that is delivering over £250,000 in savings and a 58% channel shift to online citizen self-service by digitising its bin collection service. 

At Rochdale Borough Council, over £182,000 in savings has been delivered through boosting uptake of self-service and corresponding reductions in the use of traditional contact channels for council tax and waste management.

Initiatives funded by the LGA also include a project at Sunderland City Council, which enables reporting of environmental issues or requesting services such as bulk waste collection. Work on the project includes the introduction of in-cab technology into refuse vehicles.

The LGA set up and managed four programmes between 2014 and 2018, which provided 100 councils with support in their digital strategies and projects.

The association claims the programmes, which include the Digital Channel Shift, Digital Experts, Digital Transformation and Digital Housing, have delivered savings in excess of £4.5m to councils so far.

This month, the government opened a new round of digital funding for local authorities across England under the Local Digital Fund. Grants of up to £350,000 will be offered to lead councils, which must share projects around digital improvements in public service with other local authorities.

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