Lancashire County Council signals shift to digital communication

County Hall is planning to promote more digital ways of communicating with residents
County Hall is planning to promote more digital ways of communicating with residents

Residents needing to contact Lancashire County Council are to be encouraged to get in touch with the authority digitally.

County Hall has laid out a plan to become a “digital first” council – but stressed that more traditional methods of communication, like telephone conversations and face-to-face contact, are not being removed.

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The strategy, which has been approved by cabinet members, aims to process the majority of less complex queries using online or automated systems and offer some services around the clock as a result. The authority claims that the shift will lead to a more efficient use of time – for both staff and residents.

“It is important that customers have confidence in our systems, knowing that their queries or concerns will be addressed in a timely matter – without the need to speak to multiple departments or repeatedly contact us for progress updates,” a report to the cabinet said.

Members heard that the plan is designed to generate long-term savings – but the short-term costs of making the necessary changes to systems have not been quantified.

Cabinet member for cultural services, Peter Buckley, said: “Being digital first is not about replacing our services with digital only options – it is about encouraging and enabling those who can go online and use the internet to do so.”

As part of the strategy, County Hall will also encourage other organisations to move to digital means of getting in contact with the authority.

“So many of us use digital [methods of communication] – it’s a way people are used to communicating,” cabinet member for economic development, Michael Green, said.

Meanwhile, the authority has revealed its intention to become a “data-driven” organisation, with the aim of making better use of the information which it holds. The council wants to begin identifying trends so that it can target its services at the people and places which need them most.

The strategy also pledges to ensure that the data held about individuals is “appropriate and accurate”.