The Local Government Association’s (LGA) Digital Channel Shift programme has produced savings for local authorities worth more than five times the investment, according to newly released figures.
It has come as part of savings totalling more £100 million from its Sector-Led Improvement (SLI) programme.
The report on the results for 2018-19 says that £1.7 million was saved from the 21 channel shift projects, which between them received £307,000 in funding from the LGA.
It involved investments in redesigning services to be available on different devices and make it easier for residents and businesses to self-serve. These included Scarborough Borough Council’s installation of a communication and tracking system in its fleet of refuse vehicles and digitisation of the missed bin service, which produced savings of £250,000 and a 58% shift to self-service; and Rochdale Borough Council’s initiative to increase self-service among residents using ‘nudge’ techniques, which provided savings of £182,000.
Each of the projects received £15,000 in support, with the exception West Sussex County Council’s development of an online education health and care needs assessment that received £7,000. The programme’s focus has been on improvement and the roll out of existing technology across local services.
The report points to other elements of the SLI programme providing significant savings for local government. This included £42 million from the provision of bespoke advice and support on efficiency under the Productivity Experts initiative.
Councils have generated almost £10 million of additional income from the deployment of LGA commercial experts, and found savings of more than £40 million through collaborative partnerships in areas such as waste and energy management.
Commenting on the SLI programme as a whole, Councillor Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA’s Improvement and Innovation Board, said: “Sector-led improvement continues to be an amazing local government success story that we should be proud of. There is huge opportunity for this successful approach to improvement to be enhanced over the next decade.
“Councils have embraced sector-led improvement and have shown willingness to work with the LGA and MHCLG to become more effective and efficient. We look forward to working closely with MHCLG to embed sector-led strengths, bringing fresh ideas and innovation, and to secure its funding for the future.”
The LGA has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to continue the programme through 2019-20.
Image: Howard Lake, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr