Powys County Council has announced plans to spend more than £5 million on digital improvements over the next four years. How will this provide its community with more digital options?
The council has said that the money will fund at least 15 projects and create more services and add more options to its online My Powys account for residents, reflecting the priorities laid out in its Stronger, Fairer, Greener corporate plan.
Setting out the council’s vision for the future of Powys, the plan became effective in April 2023.
The council will be reflecting the voices of its locals
It is aiming that by 2027, Powys will become a county that succeeds together, with communities and people that are well connected socially and are personally and economically resilient.
Also, it aims to be an open, well-run council that reflects the voices of its locals to help shape its work and priorities, with fairer and more equal access to services and opportunities. In addition, it wants to ensure a greener future for Powys.
One way that the council is working to achieve this ambition is through the focus on digital improvements.
Councillor David Thomas, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Transformation, explained that the programme will help to support its local community: “This ambitious digital programme is about meeting the expectation of those who come to us for help, information, or advice, who want more choice and flexibility around how and when they contact us.”
It will also result in fundamental changes to the way the council operates, with the aim of delivering services in a more cost-effective way, and greater convenience to customers.
There will be 15 new digital projects introduced
Among the projects, there will be new systems for sharing information between community health and social care services, and one for managing council houses and providing services to tenants.
A new system will also be introduced for managing planning, building control, land charges, public protection and private sector housing services, and for providing public access to them.
To boost community connectivity, one project will see the transfer of council services, reliant on copper phone lines, over to digital networks.
Sensors and other remote technology will be introduced to help monitor vulnerable people in their own homes as an aid to care services, and to help monitor environmental changes.
Other projects include:
- The transfer to a more secure and robust online storage system for council data
- An AI-powered online chat system for residents and businesses to use when contacting the council
- A mobile app for residents and businesses to stay logged into their My Powys account
- Transformation of Powys’ property, planning and public protection services
- The expansion of My Powys accounts to include more services
- A new online printing and posting system for council staff to use
- A Powys staff mobile app that will allow more tasks to be completed on phones or tablets
- A health and care mobile app that will allow residents to access both council and NHS services through a single account
- The use of a community platform in Powys to help people ask for, and offer, care or support through either paid-for or voluntary services
Local people will be provided with the option to move towards digital
Councillor Jake Berriman, Cabinet Member for the Connected Powys programme, highlighted that the introduction of the 15 new projects will help to improve the customer experience: “New technologies can help improve the lives of our residents, including the most vulnerable, and we need to seize these opportunities whenever we can.
“Our transformation work has already led to many service improvements and better customer experiences, and we want to make sure that continues with new digital options that people want to use rather than feel they have to use.”
Seeing digital transformational projects like the ones Powys County Council is introducing through more than £5 million, will help to boost connectivity and open up opportunities for local people.