Councils look to agile and mobile to achieve faltering savings targets

A poll taken among councils by outsourcer Civica shows local authorities are finding it harder to reach their cost cutting targets whilst maintaining service delivery this year, although they see technology as playing its part in achieving those targets.

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A poll taken among councils by outsourcer Civica shows local authorities are finding it harder to reach their cost cutting targets whilst maintaining service delivery this year, although they see technology as playing its part in achieving those targets.

After questioning 73 councils, Civica found 65 percent were finding it harder to achieve cost cutting targets while fully delivering services.

The majority of respondents pointed to the role of technology as a key route to improving service delivery (67 percent).

The most popular technologies for improving efficiency and administration this year are agile and mobile working solutions (64 percent), moving customer-facing services online (59 percent), back office-systems into the cloud (50 percent) and using social media to engage residents (33 percent).

The poll though suggests there is still work to be done to encourage the use of relevant social media channels. Just half (54 percent) are already using social media to engage both proactively and reactively with their citizens, despite understanding its potential to increase engagement, lower costs and improve perception of local services.

It seems many are being held back by worries that social media is not relevant for their audience (37 percent), fears about security and/or data privacy barriers (36 percent), and getting buy-in from senior management and a general lack of understanding and knowledge in their organisations (30 percent).

Bill Loughrey, managing director of Civica, said: "It’s clear that senior management recognise the need to change the way they operate and the crucial role of modern technology, particularly to support more agile and mobile working, a shift to lower cost self-service and more immediate social channels.

"As the year progresses we expect to see more organisations adopting 'disruptive' IT-enhanced ways of working."

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