Technology changes the face of council’s service delivery

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Argyll and Bute Council has said making best use of technology available is changing the way it delivers roads and infrastructure services, protecting travellers and staff, reducing carbon emissions, and saving time and money.

The Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee heard on Thursday March 5 how technology is providing and processing data that helps deliver front line services, including:

  • Electronic ticketing on council run ferries allowing people book online or by mobile phone app;
  • Sophisticated systems monitoring weather, helping the council plan winter roads maintenance. As well as following weather on satellite imagery, the council has 12 roadside weather stations measuring surface temperature, residual salt levels, moisture and air temperature etc, allowing very local decisions on how and when to treat roads for ice and snow to be made;
  • All roads’ maintenance information, service requests and work orders are held on one system which manages the work more efficiently, saving both time and money;
  • 93 per cent of Argyll and Bute’s street lighting has been switched to LEDs, reducing the energy used by 50 per cent. These bulbs have a much longer life span meaning they need to be replaced less frequently, which saves time and money;
  • Drones are now used to carry out topographical and visual surveys in hard to reach places;
  • Use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in technical design work produces highly accurate drawings that can be viewed at different scales, cutting down on paper and again saving money;
  • Tracking systems on vehicles ensure that staff working on their own in remote locations have support from supervisors and managers in emergencies; and
  • The council is adding more electrical vehicles to its fleet, thanks to funding from Transport Scotland, now that battery range is more viable for the geography of Argyll and Bute.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for housing, roads and infrastructure services, said: ‘We deliver some services that no other councils provide, to more islands than any other council. Without taking full advantage of technology, it would become more and more difficult to meet the needs of our residents, make decisions based on local conditions and support our staff who work remotely.

‘Savings made – for example, changing to more efficient and effective lighting – go to help protect front-line services and support our climate change ambitions.

‘I look forward to what the future brings as we continue to find ways of improving our service delivery through best use of what technology can offer.’