How Local Councils can Improve Citizen Engagement with Digital Technology 

local council citizen engagement digitial
A 2021 Australian survey of local councils¹ found that ‘improving customer experience’ was the biggest focus area for digital transformation.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 drove up digital adoption across just about every sector, including local government. The survey found that Australian councils required rapid adoption of applications and digital access to data, while seeking new ways of connecting people to services.

When it comes to the concept of ‘smart cities’, it’s often AI and machine learning applications that take the spotlight. But more fundamentally, a smart city needs easy digital connectivity between council and citizens.

This aspect of citizen engagement means residents using their own device for everything from reporting issues, completing forms, to accessing QR codes for waste vouchers.

The Citizen Engagement Portal

From a technology standpoint, a citizen engagement portal makes this possible. This acts as a hub for citizens, and is used to digitise just about any workflow or touchpoint, including:

  • Filling digital forms that integrate with existing systems and push information where it’s needed
  • Reporting an issue, making applications, providing feedback – and receiving updates on progress of these activities
  • Creating a personalised experience with an individual’s history of communication, completed forms, and localised information such as waste collection dates
  • Facilitating two-way, secure private messaging
  • Enabling emergency broadcasts for events such as flooding and outages

Solving Problems for Citizens

Expectations of service are rising. When residents can tap an app to order a pizza and watch its progress in real-time, they expect the same digital connectivity of all their service providers. They want quick, easy, digital interactions that they control and have transparency across the whole process. It comes down to having a ‘single source of truth’ for interaction and communication with their council.

Trust, Automation and Efficiency for Councils

By improving digital connectivity and the customer experience, local councils can enhance their reputation and build trust, satisfaction and communication in their community. Administration is reduced by automating workflows such as data collection, and lowering paper and postage costs. With data instantly available and fully transparent, councils can become more responsive in their service provision. Emergency preparedness also improves, with an established communication channel already in place to push messages to citizens and allow two-way communication. Digital technology can also be introduced to physical service centres, such as digitising queue management to reduce wait times.

Setting up a Citizen Engagement Portal

One of the issues that local governments face is working with their existing tech stack. Any citizen engagement portal must present a seamless experience to residents, while integrating tightly to existing systems. Five Faces’ consumer experience technology does just this, and is proven in high-pressure environments such as creating COVID-19 digital solutions for hospitals.

¹ Source: KPMG

Want to learn more? Contact our team today to understand how we can help with citizen engagement and portals.

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