Council invests £1m to improve digital services

Plymouth City Council has invested nearly £1 million in setting up a high street shop which boasts new technology including PCs, iPads and software, to improve the services it offers to residents.

The ‘First Stop Shop’, has 50 PCs and 13 self-service machines, supported by software from BookingBug and Knowledge Base bought from G-Cloud.

Staff, who are trained in a range of public services, meet visitors as they come into the shop with iPads. Most queries are dealt with on the spot, but if necessary they are booked in for a meeting. The council is using an appointments management system from BookingBug which provides useful data on demand, appointment lengths and other customer metrics.

Project manager Aaron Osborne-Taylor said: “It’s making our back office processes much more streamlined. Now we’ve got customer data and metrics being used to better understand demand types and appointments lengths, so we can refine the service and how to make it tick. It’s much more difficult to capture and analyse on our traditional systems. The management information aspect is as big for us as the ability to book and manage appointments. It’s about improving the journey for the customer, taking away long waits, uncertainty and lots of need for contact.”

Over the next six months, Plymouth City Council has wider plans to improve its website and online services, and introduce SMS reminders for appointments.

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