Local Authorities Delivering More With Less When The Pressure Is On
Our world shrunk during the pandemic, especially in lockdown, and with it came a renewed reliance and appreciation of the local area and services on our doorstep.
As public parks transformed into gyms, green spaces became a sanctuary from uncertainty and bins filled up faster than ever, local councils were increasingly in the spotlight having to meet a heightened public demand and face the scrutiny that comes with it.
Against this backdrop, and in spite of the extraneous circumstances, pressure remained on local authorities to deliver, and still does, a challenge compounded by tighter budgets and depleted teams. Meanwhile, the slick same-day delivery service established by Amazon et all has raised the game and set the bar for the customer journey whatever the shop, service or experience. Increasingly the public make little distinction between the size or type of service offering; private or public sector – they simply want things right and on time – grants to be delivered, buses to adhere to the timetable and bins to be collected.
Yet maintaining quality and efficiencies in what are still unpredictable times is no easy feat; public demand for council services still ebbs and flows as some aspects of life return to normal while others remain out of kilter such as the HGV driver shortage impacting on waste collection services.
Ultimately, the council simply has to make the best use of what it has through a flexible and superior approach to resource management. It’s why savvy operators are teaming up with asset management providers whose cloud-based software can take a forensic, data-driven look at the demands of their portfolio and optimise what they have at their disposal. Collating all insight and intelligence into one place to analyse usage and patterns provides the full picture required to boost efficiencies when the pressure is on to extract every drop of value from the existing team and resources. From connecting operatives in the field with back-office staff to identify the most fuel-efficient routes for council crews, delivery and maintenance teams, the benefits extend beyond more consistency in service delivery by saving time and money.
Furthermore, with digital and virtual communication channels accelerated by Covid, the expectation for transparent and accessible information via portals, mobile apps and social media to residents fast and at their fingertips will remain a key legacy. Again, it’s a speed of response that demands greater connectivity via council IT systems and infrastructure harnessing APIs to link up with third parties to access what is required.
Councils are not a sum of parts but an eco-system that works best as an integrated entity. Data-driven systems that harness this will lead to a more focused, collective effort on the front line which tough and testing times demand.