District council turns to data analytics to fight austerity

DataIQ News

South Kesteven District Council in Lincolnshire claims to have become the first district council to implement a data analytics platform which helps budget efficiencies and protects vital services at the same time.

The data analytics system from Panintelligence was introduced earlier this year and initial estimates suggest that it could unlock internal resources and generate capacity, which in turn could save the authority £44,000 annually.

The system allows the most up to date information to be used by services across the authority, supporting the teams in their work and enabling the whole organisation to gain a better understanding of the data it holds.

The software is already being used by the council’s revenue and benefits and planning departments and has significantly improved customer services processes. By identifying trends in enquiries, it has enabled the authority to tailor rotas for quicker and more effective customer responses and identify those enquiries that take longer.

The council now plans to roll out the technology across all of its services, from homelessness prevention and rent arrears, to housing repairs and lettings.

The predictive modelling capability will, for instance, enable the council to identify where people are most likely to fall into debt and intervene early, catching the problem before it escalates.

Meanwhile by identifying trends in housing repairs, the authority can tackle problems before they occur. For example, it can identify whether certain types of boilers are prone to faults, and fix them quickly, and reduce overspending and repeat property visits by ensuring vans are stocked with the right parts the first-time round.

The deputy leader of the council, councillor Kelham Cooke, said: “The software is supporting a cultural shift in traditional local authority working. At a time when local authorities need to act more like businesses to continue delivering excellent services, we need to overcome traditional barriers to technology or risk being left behind.

“We know the amount of data we hold is a treasure trove of information and with the new system that data can now help us transform operations, save money and identify new revenue streams.

“Also, on a cultural level we wanted to move into a world where monitoring performance is as immediate, natural and easy as checking your phone or emails and this system supports that. We can also create additional revenue by reducing our operational costs, which translates into more and better services."