Digital ‘key to increasing council self-sufficiency’

Pursuing digital strategies is a key part of helping councils become self-sufficient through increased commercial activity, according to a new report.

Civica report outlines importance of digital for councils seeking to raise money from charging for services – Photo credit: Fotolia

A study by supplier Civica examines how councils are moving beyond strategies that just cut costs to a new stage of raising revenue through charging for service provision. It said that increased commercialisation could help councils cope with the impact of reduced funding from central government.

The report said: “Digital transformation should be part of a much wider strategy to cut costs and to drive commercialisation. 

“A future proofed local authority can leverage their digital platforms and business intelligence to obtain further efficiencies (providing services their customers want) and also to access new revenue streams.”

The report pointed to progress made by the General Register Office of Northern Ireland, which delivered 16 transformed services and 3.5 million new transactions by April 2016.

In addition to achieving operational efficiencies, the service created new digital ancestry services, which now receives 15,000 orders per month through searches of more than 9 million records.

This created substantial new revenue streams, which helped the office avoid reduce the service budget by 700,000 a year and avoid 30 potential redundancies.

The report was compiled following a round table discussion among local government and private sector leaders.

It found that commercialisation plays a significant part in 40% of local authority strategies. 

A recent survey of Solace members showed that senior managers in councils view financial self-sufficiency as one of their council’s top three priorities. 


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