Tenants and leaseholders in Barking and Dagenham are being offered a mobile text service to handle their rent and repairs queries.

The free service is designed to take pressure off the council's contact centre and save time and money on paper admin.

For example, users can text BAL to 07949 963963 and they'll receive a text message with their rental balance. They will also get text reminders if they've got a repair appointment booked, or a text reminder for things that they've previously had a letter about, such as rent arrears.

Councillor Phil Waker, cabinet member for housing, said: "The service will enable people get timely information and assurances more easily on their phones. Reminders for repair appointments, rent arrears and any other issues they would normally have waited for a letter for can be received instantly."

Last year Barking and Dagenham council signed a £160 million outsourcing deal with IT services firm Agilisys. As part of the council's Elevate East London scheme, the deal was designed to provide a range of services to improve customer service and provide better value for money.