City of Wolverhampton Council will revolutionise the way it delivers services to the public after councillors agreed to invest in a £3.5 million programme that will propel the authority to become one of the most digitally advanced in the country and save money.

Cabinet councillors have recently endorsed the ambitious Digital Transformation Programme - which will save the council an initial £1.5 million a year with the potential for considerably more in the future.

The programme sets out a vision to bring the council into the modern age by putting a digital ethos and technology at the heart of interactions with customers.

The council wants to be able to offer customers an experience which is more akin to what they are used to via their interactions leading retail and leisure businesses rather than the traditional way of dealing with the council.

Councillor Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for resources, said: "We are transforming the council into a confident, capable organisation that offers the very best customer service.

"Through the digital transformation programme we are making a considerable investment that will revolutionise the way we provide services to the public. Our customers will be able to access their council when and how they want to.

"Increasingly, people are used to being able to go online via a mobile device or computer and being able to order goods and services in just a few simple clicks.

"Look at some leading retail and leisure businesses out there which use technology which can recognise you when you return to the site and it suggests products that might interest you. We want to be able to offer a similar experience.

"The days of people waiting for the phone to be answered or queuing at a reception desk are not the way most people want to interact with us anymore. We will still offer those traditional methods, but we will also offer better, modern alternatives.

"Our vision is to become one of the most digitally advanced councils in the country and our investment in the digital transformation programme will be the way we deliver that ambition."

The digital transition will play a vital role in streamlining internal processes. For example, at the moment customers have to ring the council to book the removal of large or bulky items such as an old sofa. The information is then passed manually through several departments, before eventually reaching the team who will collect it.

Soon, customers will be able to book the removal of large or bulky items online in a few clicks and the information will be passed automatically to the collection team; saving time and enabling faster customer service.

The aim is to deliver the best possible customer experience and make more services accessible online. Customers will then have the ability to access council services at a time and location that is convenient to them, track progress and receive updates on orders, bookings and payments via their chosen channel of digital communication.

Following Cabinet giving approval to the programme, work has already commenced to deliver it in phases over the next 18 months. Regular updates on the programme will be presented to Cabinet Resources Panel as appropriate.

  • released: Tuesday 10 November, 2015