Local Government: Collaboration, Citizen Satisfaction, Saving Money and the Planet

Julia Esgate Christmas
February 8, 2023

The UK local government is constantly striving to improve the satisfaction of its citizens and to provide better services that are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. In this blog, we will explore some of the ways in which local councils are working to achieve these goals and the benefits they bring to citizens, the economy, and the planet.

Improving Council Collaboration to Enhance Citizen Experience and Population Health

One of the most effective ways to improve citizen satisfaction is by increasing collaboration between local councils. By working together, councils can provide more efficient and effective services, which can improve the health and well-being of their populations. For example, through joint initiatives, councils can improve public transport services, promote healthier lifestyles, and provide more affordable housing. Collaboration is also key to ensure local authorities are improving by learning from other authorities’ successes and mistakes.

Digitising Services to Enable Self-Service and Improve Cost-Effectiveness

To meet the needs of modern citizens, councils need to provide digital infrastructure that allows for self-service. By offering online portals and digital services, councils can reduce the costs of providing services and improve the overall experience for citizens. This is important because it makes it easier for citizens to access the services they need, when they need them, and reduces the need for in-person visits to council offices. However, for these digital services to thrive, digital accessibility for all citizens is of key importance, so that no citizen is left excluded from these services.

Identifying the Most Cost-Effective Services to Digitise

When considering digitising services, it is important to identify which services are the most cost-effective to digitise. This can be done by analysing the volume of requests for each service, the cost of providing the service, and the potential benefits to citizens. For example, services such as paying council tax or reporting potholes can be digitised relatively easily, while more complex services such as planning applications may require more time and investment to digitise. New solutions for these more complex services need to be procured, to ensure a successful transition.

Is Paperless Always the Most Environmentally Friendly?

While digitising services can be more environmentally friendly than using paper, it is not always the most sustainable option. To ensure that we are reducing our impact on the environment, councils need to consider the entire lifecycle of digital services, from the production of devices and networks to the disposal of e-waste. Additionally, councils need to consider alternative options such as teleconferencing and other paper-free methods of communication.

Local Partnerships, the joint venture between the Local Government Association, HM Treasury and Welsh Government stated in their 2021-2022 Impact Report that two of their five main focus areas focused on climate response and circular economy and resource efficiency. Their key successes included £180 million of energy efficient works produced across 1,000 buildings using Re:fit framework, and Wales has achieved a 65% recycling rate, with a 100% target by 2050. The report demonstrates the key importance of collaboration in improving sustainability, across UK local authorities.

In conclusion, local councils in the UK are working to improve citizen satisfaction, save money, and protect the environment by digitising services, increasing collaboration, and making use of sustainable technologies. These initiatives are helping to create a better future for all citizens and are setting a positive example for citizens living within these authorities.

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Interested in finding out more? At Digital Government 2023, on our local government stream, we will be hosting the session ‘Innovate to Elevate: How we are Improving Citizen Satisfaction, Saving Money and the World’, with some expert local government speakers in the pipeline to discuss this pivotal topic.

Check out the agenda and secure your pass here.