Stockport steps up its digital offer
Council beefs up its online services with new website and digital facilities to help meet tough savings targets
The relentless need in local government to achieve savings has led to Stockport Council beefing up its digital offering to citizens.
The council has already had to find savings of £100m and must now implement an additional £60m over the next five years. Of this figure, £28m in savings must be realised over the next two years.
In line with a number of goals, including designing digital solutions and encouraging self-service wherever possible, the council has just released a new website where residents can report, apply and pay for things, while finding information on a wide range of services more quickly and easily.
Among the developments introduced by the council is a new search function to help residents and businesses find the information they are looking for, as well as providing quick links to browse the topics many other people are searching for.
It has also launched a new ‘My Account’ function where residents have access to personalised information on council services. The function is intended to be useful if residents cannot remember which bins they need to put out this week or want to view their council tax bill and payment schedules. Residents only need an email address to sign up for My Account with the council promising that it only takes a few minutes.
Another new digital feature is the ability to track the repair of faults, such as street lights that aren’t working. The Stockport website enables people to identify the light, check if the fault has already been reported or report it themselves, then follow the status of the repair until it is resolved. And if they have signed up to My Account they will see the report in their own account dashboard. View demo video at: https://play.buto.tv/nXg9v
The council has also pointed to the mobility of its services, highlighting that its website and My Account facility will just as well on mobile phones and tablets as on computers.
It said, “Our new website and My Account are part of our Digital Stockport programme which is focussed on improving the council’s online offer, making better use of digital tools for staff and increasing the number of residents who have digital skills and access to the internet.”
The council this week launched a marketing campaign to promote its new online services, encouraging residents to use the website as ‘an easier way to contact your council’ pointing out the benefit that “we’re online and ready when you are”, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Councillor David Sedgwick, executive member for reform and governance, said, “We have created a new digital offer because our local residents and businesses are expecting more from our services, so we had to invest in new technology, tools and skills to match that expectation. The Digital Stockport programme will also enable us to make further savings whilst delivering public services in new and more efficient ways.”