Laura Sharman 15 March 2016

Digital by Default could save councils £14.7bn a year says report

Digital by Default could save councils £14.7bn a year says report image

Councils could save £14.7bn a year if they made use of new digital technologies such as apps and online platforms, according to a report published today.

Connected Councils from Nesta examines what a ‘digital by default’ council would look like in 2025 and how services could be improved through new ways of collecting and analysing data.

The examples of how new technologies could be utilised include doctors receiving an alert if an elderly citizen doesn’t put out their bins for two weeks in a row and collecting data through wearable devices.

It also predicts that local authorities will have moved all their transactional services online by 2025, the end of service managers and executive meetings and the merger of surrounding authorities.

Julie Simon, head of government innovation research at Nesta, said: ‘As budget cuts begin to bite councils have found themselves at a crossroads. Although digital technologies are by no means a silver bullet, they can help councils improve on the important services they offer; transforming their delivery, stimulating economic growth and ultimately improving the way they manage themselves and their resources.’

The report identifies four key opportunities for councils using digital:

• Save money and deliver better outcomes by intervening earlier and helping people manage their own conditions.
• Transform the way that councils work internally, commission services and partner, diagnose and solve problems, use public space, and attract talent.
• Make services smoother and easier to access, more personalised and user responsive.
• Put residents at the heart of local problem solving and decision-making and create an environment which supports businesses to startup and scale.

Minister for the Cabinet Office & Paymaster General, Matt Hancock, said: 'This report shows the sort of savings local government can make by embracing digital transformation ever further - so councils need to take these figures seriously.

'I will continue to make sure that the Government Digital Service works with local authorities to create better services for people across the UK.'

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