Councils win share of government cash for online work

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Two district councils have joined forces to win government cash to develop new online services for residents.

The Breckland and South Holland councils have secured £25,000 to draw up a corporate plan that they believe will help residents and businesses make greater use of technology.

A Breckland spokesman said: “Making local services even more accessible to all residents is a priority area for the council.

“The new Corporate Plan outlines our ambition to provide the right services, at the right time and in the right way.

“Making the best use of digital technology will play a big role in delivering our plans and, thanks to this funding, we will shortly begin work on two initial projects.

“In the longer term our plan is to dramatically increase the range of services accessible to residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The two councils have worked together to share resources for several years, including sharing a chief executive since 2010.

The Breckland spokesman added: “Working with South Holland, we will develop an online book and pay system which will allow residents and businesses to carry out more transactions online using their laptops, tablets and smart phones, as well as at council offices with assisted support.

The councils are also planning to introduce online self-service terminals in reception areas. Staff will be trained to show residents how to use the technology.

And they say any savings generated from the programme will be used to support residents with more complex needs.

The authorities are among 27 councils to receive a share of £390,000 from the Local Government Association’s Digital Expert programme, which is designed to help councils implement schemes which have been successful in other areas.

An association spokesman said: “There is a lot of excellent working going on in councils to develop and implement innovative digital ways of providing services.

“The Digital Experts programme will give a helping hand to those councils who are keen to draw on the learning of their peers and quickly implement what has worked well elsewhere, and we look forward to seeing the results.”