Northamptonshire County Council is going mobile with new ways to get in touch and access council information.
An iPhone app, Android app and mobile web browser are all being developed as part of a wider digital project designed to encourage more people to go online as a first port of call, instead of telephoning the council.
Each time someone chooses to access council information online instead of making a telephone call, the council saves £2.95. The council’s customer service centre receives over 8,000 calls every week so this new technology has the potential to save thousands of pounds.
The iPhone app is the first to launch, with the other elements being introduced in coming months. The iPhone app includes:
- The latest council news
- Current council job vacancies
- Consultation information
- Facility to find the nearest library, recycling centre, country park or registration office and route mapping to get there
- Bus times and nearest bus stops
- Contact details for nearest council services
- School directory – by distance (postcode) or school name
- School term dates and school closures
- Contact details which can be saved in the phones directory and used when required.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “At a time when we are all looking at ways to reduce costs and save money, it is vital that we make it as easy as possible for customers to use our website, as it is our most cost-effective communications tool.
“We have worked in partnership with the University of Northampton to develop these very useful and cost saving applications which mean people have access to services and information 24/7 and when people are out and about, we want them to be able to check their mobile phones for information instead of telephoning the council.
"The apps are free for people to download, so make sure you get them on your phones and help us to save money every time you use it instead of calling our customer service centre.
“And even if you don’t have an iPhone or an Android phone, we are also developing a mobile web browser, so anyone with internet capability on their mobile phone can benefit from these initiatives.
“With around a third of people who have a mobile phone using it to access the internet, it’s clear that these will be useful tools for many of our residents, whilst also saving the council, and therefore taxpayers, money at the same time.”
To help promote the new iPhone app, the council is running a competition to win an iPhone 4 (donated by O2). To enter and find out more about the new technologies, people can visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk
The iPhone app is the first to launch and is now available from the iTunes app store.