‘Every transaction we move online can save £7.40 for front-line services’ – Dundee City Council
Local authority unveils ambition to ‘become a digital council by 2020’
The city of Dundee and the river Tay as seen from Balgay Hill Credit: CC0 1.0 Universal
Dundee City Council has urged citizens to conduct more public-service interactions online.
The ‘Save Time, Do It Online’ campaign is intended to support the authority’s ambition to “become a digital council by 2020”. For every transaction it is able to move online that was previously delivered by phone, by post, or in-person, the council will “save between £2.40 and £7.40 to invest in front-line services”, according to executive director of corporate services Greg Colgan.
Citizens are encouraged to sign up for an account with the MyDundee services portal. This will allow them to take advantage of a range of online services, including receiving digital council-tax bills and making payments, reporting fly-tipping, checking on dates including school holidays and bin collections, and obtaining information from the council’s Brown Street Kennels on dogs that need new homes.
“We want as many people as possible to sign up for a MyDundee account. It’s quick and easy to do,” added Colgan. “Thousands of households have signed up already, but with around 70,000 households receiving their council tax details in a few weeks’ time, there are lots more who could switch.”
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The digital-services drive comes on the back of a redesign of the council’s website, and the publication of a digital strategy last year. The goal of this strategy is “to encourage citizens to think digital first” when using council services, according to council leader John Alexander.
“The revamped website is a fantastic portal to the council and the range of services that it offers,” he added. “We know that people lead busy lives and don’t always have time to phone up and make a payment or request a service during the working day. Those services are available 24/7 on any computer, tablet, or mobile phone. It’s convenient and means people don’t have to wait at peak times.”
The council claimed that three quarters of adult Dundonians have the necessary basic skills to use internet services, while 99% of households in the city are able to receive fast broadband.
“We appreciate, nonetheless, that not everyone has easy access to the web at home, so we’ve been working hard to increase digital access for the public, including the provision of public access computer terminals in local libraries and council offices,” Alexander added. “And, of course, for those who can’t or don’t want to go online, we’ll continue to provide face-to-face, telephone and email access to customer services.”
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