Is the council of the future cloud?

Woman sat around a table in a business meeting with a macbook air

Written by Georgina Maratheftis, Programme Manager of Local Government at techUK

When it comes to the current state of play of cloud adoption in local government, it’s a rather mixed picture. A recent Eduserv survey on local government cloud adoption found that councils aren’t yet adopting cloud fully, but some are at the start of their cloud journey with 40 per cent of participants said they have a formal cloud adoption strategy in place. While only 62 per cent of councils currently use cloud infrastructure, with 64 per cent of councils use both on-premise and cloud hosting. And the rate of adoption has only increased by 10 per cent in the last two years. Often, councils are choosing to run cloud alongside on-premise systems rather than displacing existing IT infrastructure entirely. The future isn’t bleak.

By adopting a cloud-first mindset, councils can reimagine how services can be delivered, as well as gain value by reducing demand on service, improving efficiencies, and enhancing the customer experience.

A truly digital council will be more connected and integrated with citizens, communities and businesses reaping the benefits. Using digital to reimagine service delivery that is user-centric and meets users’ needs.

This flexibility cloud offers increases innovation, productivity and operational effectiveness. Aylesbury Vale District Council were one of the first councils to move to the cloud and have attributed savings of £14 million after modernising its services and moving to the cloud. Being on the cloud has also enabled the council to bring more services online and harness emerging technologies to keep costs under control, such as the AI front-end which has reduced phone traffic by 20%.

A ‘council of the future’, will also be an organisation that allows employees to work collaboratively and flexibly. London Borough of Barking and Dagenham adopted a cloud-first approach to support smarter working and workforce mobility.  As a result, the council has reduced its operating costs by 25 per cent, while also driving a 35 per cent reduction in IT support costs. Not only can cloud help councils meet their efficiency savings but support collaboration and mobility by breaking down barriers to traditional public service reform.

In addition to the efficiency savings councils can make by adopting cloud, the real reward is how it can break down barriers to traditional ways of working and enable more joined-up/integrated services that benefit citizens. Cloud can help facilitate secure data sharing and collaborative platforms. Essex council, for example, has set-up a data sharing scheme to tackle millions of pounds in lost council tax revenues due to errors and fraud and this has been made possible through the cloud.

Each council will have their own vision of what the future will look like, from service delivery to the workplace itself. But collaboration, transparency and smarter working for both employees and citizens should be a common component to this vision and this is something that the cloud can enable.

This article was originally published here as part of techUK’s Cloud week.

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