Council aims to cut £5 million from annual budget through adding to website capabilities
Wrexham County Borough Council is planning a push in the introduction of more online services, along with cutting back its face to face operation, in an effort to save £5 million in its 2017-18 budget.
It has announced plans for more services to be added to the My Account function on its website, adding online forms for residents to report a range of issues – including fly tipping, potholes and dog fouling– and apply for a number of services.
These will join existing functions for the personal accounts, such as accessing council tax accounts, setting up direct debits and applying for council tax or housing benefits.
The council has told residents it is also planning to provide a web chat function on its site, but that it intends to make its face to face Contact Wrexham service available only for more complex enquiries.
It has had the Agilysys MyAccount platform for customer accounts and GovDelivery for the alerts service in place for about nine months, and plans to build on their functions to develop the new services.
ICT and customer services manager Helen Gerrard said it will be a gradual roll out, and that the council plans to make environmental reporting the first addition in January, followed by e-billing functions before fills are issued for 2017-18.
Councillor Bob Dutton, lead member for corporate services and health and safety, said: “When we make improvements to our digital services not only do we save money, but we also see improvements to efficiency, such as shorter waiting times and access to services online.”
He added: “It is important however that we recognise that not everyone will want to go online or be able to and, where this is the case, we will have customer advisers on hand to offer support and advice to customers."
Wrexham highlighted existing savings in one area - £15,000 per year – by providing a link to its online magazine.
Image from National Assembly for Wales, CC BY 2.0 through flickr