Leeds looks to robotics to help transform services despite ‘significant financial challenges’

City council to undertake year-long six-figure programme of work

Credit: kiquebg/Pixabay

Leeds City Council is planning a year-long, six-figure programme of work to explore how robotics could be used to help deliver service transformation in spite of facing “significant financial challenges”.

The local authority is seeking to appoint a supplier specialised in robotic process automation (RPA). The authority said, in a contract notice, that it has “identified a number of use cases” which the chosen firm will help investigate further, before identifying and, ultimately, developing tools that could be deployed in these areas.

The notice added: “The council does not have a preferred RPA technology and expects to work with the successful company to select appropriate tool sets, which will be procured outside of this proposed contract. There will also be a requirement to ensure skills transfer to the council’s staff.”

After an initial review of the potential RPA uses identified by the council, the chosen provider will help create business cases and conduct assurance processes to address any “technical, data and security risks”.

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The intention is then to develop and begin implementing robotics technology – alongside a “repeatable methodology and approach to adopting, implementing and supporting solutions”.

Over the course of a year-long contract, Leeds expects to spend between £100,000 and £450,000 – “although this is subject to ongoing budget and programme review”.

The specialist provider will work with the council’s digital and IT professionals, as well as service-delivery leaders. 

“As part of the significant financial challenges being faced by the council, coupled with the drive to digitise and modernise services, there is an urgent need to exploit technology that will increase automation and streamline service delivery,” the notice said. “The introduction of RPA is seen as a key approach to save time and human effort as we automate the execution of repetitive tasks and thereby extending our human staff resource even more. With a greater number of low-level customer requests handled automatically, those customers will have a better experience. Increased RPA across the authority will generate efficiencies to support the financial challenge by digitising and modernising the delivery of council services and back-office processes where these are currently heavily manual.”

Bids for the contract are open until midnight on 21 October, with work scheduled to start in December.


Sam Trendall

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