Leeds City Council is proud of its ongoing programme to exploit technology to raise the levels and channels of service it is tasked with providing to its 715,000 citizens.

The council has worked to build on improvements to call answer rates as it migrates more services to its consolidated contact centre, having already seen them rise from 38 per cent in 2004 to 90 per cent in 2006/7. The council’s website is now ranked as ‘transactional’ by the Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) and is rated one of the eight best in its class with an increasing amount of services now made available online.

The authority also said its Information Technology Network Improvement Programme (NIP) has produced some £3 million in savings as a result of “an increase in productive time across the council through improvements in service availability, speed of performance, ease of access and the ability for staff to work anytime anywhere”. Improved IT infrastructure enabled the development of e-payment methods to allow Leeds to switch payments from expensive labour-intensive methods to those that are more efficient, like direct debit or its e-payments programme, which has delivered a saving of £540,000.

During 2007, Leeds successfully completed a major upgrade of all laptops and PCs to Windows XP on its predominantly Novell-based network. With more than 12,000 users to migrate, it used the opportunity to deploy new asset management software that will help it in its work towards complying with the IT Information Library (ITIL) governance framework for further productivity and efficiency improvements, particularly in light of previous work to rationalise its disparate 850-strong application estate.

The council added that this year it will develop its Information and Knowledge Management agenda through the deployment of document and records management, business intelligence (BI) and collaboration technologies to ensure the value to the organisation of its collective knowledge is maximised. And pilots for the development of an end-to-end document and record management programme will be completed within Social Services and Education Leeds by 2009.