Thursday, 20 March 2014

Widening Our Net To Save Money And Improve Services

Improvements to Cambridgeshire County Council’s website are being introduced as part of plans to help save millions of pounds and make it easier for people to access services.

The County Council announced last year as part of its budget setting process that it would be looking at how to help people access services online to reduce costs and make improvements.

Changes to the website have incorporated feedback from local people and is in response to communities wanting to access more Council services online and from mobile devices. By helping people access services online more easily the Council aims to save at least £200,000 a year.

The changes are also based on public consultation and testing so content is reduced to what people want and is easier for them to find. The Government Digital Service carried out a similar exercise and saved between £50 to £70 million.

Currently around 743,000 transactions a year take place using the Council’s site www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk – such as renewing library books or applying for school places.

National figures say a face to face meeting costs £8.62 while a phone call is £2.83 – compared to online at 15p. Last year there were some 12.3 million page views and 1.7 million unique visitors to the Councils website.

This Christmas around 47 per cent of people accessed the site using mobile devices, such as their phone or tablet, but many are put off because the current site is not mobile friendly.

The site has been improved to make it easier for people to get to the services they most need particularly using their phone or tablet.

Making it easier for people to access services online saves millions of pounds for the authority and our residents.

It also means the Council can reduce costs by hosting all its information rather than use more expensive outside providers.

The changes, which have been introduced as the contract runs out for the existing site, will be made on Wednesday, March 26.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Martin Curtis, said: “It is very clear that people want us to improve our online services to make it easier for them to access their Council. Not only does this make it easier for the residents we serve but also saves the Council millions of pounds that could be spent supporting frontline services. These changes will make it even more easier for people to talk to us online and is part of an overall strategy to help make savings and improve services.”