Council sets out plans to cut face-to-face contact and massively increase online presence

Bucks County Council wants to move more services online
Bucks County Council wants to move more services online

Plans to reduce face-to-face and telephone contact in favour of increased online transactions are set out in a digital strategy launched by Bucks County Council.

The authority says the strategy will save taxpayers millions of pounds in the long term.

It said all new online services will be specially designed to make sure that they are simple to use for everyone, whatever their level of internet experience.

Amongst new online services being developed are new ways of reporting potholes through a mobile app; live web chat, already live on some webpages, being extended more widely across the website; and a future My Account function, which will be a personal account allowing people to review and track their transactions, applications and reports.

Around 64 different online services are already offered, from renewing library books or applying for a school place, to reporting fly-tipping or booking tickets for events.

It said web transactions, at an average of £0.15 each, are overwhelmingly the most cost-effective for the council, compared with contact by phone (£2.83) and face-to-face (£8.62).

People can win one of three Android tablets while helping to shape council digital services; to enter, simply visit and submit an idea for a county council service you would like to see available online.

Peter Hardy, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Our ambition is to make our online services so good that everyone uses them as their first choice for getting in touch with us.

“A great example of how we are innovating is our new ‘Report It’ web page and mobile app, which as well as allowing pothole reporting in just a few quick steps including taking and uploading a photo, will also soon offer a tracking function meaning that people can receive updates on progress with the pothole or road problem they’ve reported to us.

“At the same time as making all this digital innovation happen, we’re working together with organisations across the county to help make sure that people have both the skills and the access to be able to get online.”