Despite current budget cuts in local authorities, “it is possible to make cost-efficiencies and still ensure strong relationships with the general public” by using location-based information, according to Alex Mathieson on LocalGov.co.uk.
This can lead to new ways of improving citizen self-services via easy-to-use, interactive mapping interfaces on council websites.
These might include ‘where’s my nearest?’ enquiries or the ability to report faulty infrastructure, such as streetlights.
By making geographical data more accessible outside the council and encouraging citizen self-service online, local councils can generate cost efficiencies by freeing up staff resources, whilst generating a certain feel good factor amongst local citizens who can quickly and easily find answers to routine enquiries via the web.
One council doing this already is Barnsley: they have created MyProperty, a service whereby citizens can access all the necessary information about their area, including schools and doctors. Citizens can also access Barnsley Council Interactive Maps whilst real-time traffic information is displayed on the council’s website.
In this new age of austerity, local authorities should look to innovate solutions to manage the needs of citizens, Mathieson advises.
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