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Derby City Council plans push in AI deployments


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Image source: Chandaeng

Derby City Council is planning to expand its use of AI into more service areas.

The local authority has recently agreed to extend its partnership with ICS.AI in a four-year, £7 million initiative to use the company’s AI Smart solution, which is based on Microsoft Copilot, as part of its strategy to use AI in transforming customer services.

This follows an initial project, begun last year, to adopt phone based AI to replace interactive voice response systems. ICS.AI said that to date it has managed over 500,000 telephone and web queries, resolving 43% without input from staff – double the initial target.

The next phase will involve an expansion of Derby’s AI capabilities, beginning over the next four months with a look at adult social care, customer services and debt recovery.

Teams working in social care will use the technology to review care packages for living at home, while for customer services the council’s Darcie and Ali digital assistants will be extended into generative AI for more complex and nuanced interactions with residents.

Minimise debt, maximise income

ICS.AI said that introducing AI to debt recovery will enable the council to gather and analyse information from across its systems more quickly and identify where it needs to offer support to minimise debt and maximise income collection.

Two more phases involving other services are scheduled to follow, and it has been estimated that the initiative could provide the council with £12.25 million per year in savings.

Its leader, Cllr Baggy Shanker, said: “The continued financial challenges in the local government sector mean we must consider how we can operate most efficiently, while continuing to deliver the best service possible.

“Derby City Council is a trailblazer in using AI, and we will always make sure the needs of all our citizens are at the heart of this project. New advances bring risks, which we will manage, but also some incredible opportunities to deliver the best outcomes for our citizens in a more efficient and cost-effective way.”


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