Headlines: September 6th, 2010

Local Authorities saved more than 200 million pounds last year by using new technology to manage services, according to a new report. It reveals how councils are using mobile, web-mapping and satellite technology for a range of purposes, including improving the efficiency of bin collections and keeping people informed about road works.

The report from the Local Government Association said recent innovations also included iPhone applications which allow people get hygiene ratings for food outlets simply by pointing their telephone at the premises or to send photographs of fly-tipping and vandalism so councils can deal quickly with the problem.

The research found the use of technology increased the productivity of councils by 230 million pounds in 2009. David Parsons, the chairman of the LGA’s Improvement Board, said: “This is money which can be ploughed into vital frontline services on which millions of people rely each year, and is yet another example of councils striving to be more efficient to make their stretched budgets go as far as possible.” He said that in addition to the financial savings, using technology had led to improved communication with people of all ages and raised awareness of the services councils offered and how to get the most from them. Councillor Parsons added: “It is estimated such technology and information sharing could potentially save councils up to 372 million pounds by 2014-15.”