What major changes do you think we will see regarding Robotics and AI within Local Government?
“Over the next 10 years or certainly in twenty-five, we need to be using digital technology to personalize services first of all. Secondly, to respond to the digital savvy citizens who want to interact conveniently, and in a way which suits them. Thirdly, we need to make sure that we maintain our focus on those who don’t wish to interact in that way, and so that our services get better and better in terms of face-to-face interactions, and that we don’t lose sight of that is a really important part of what we do.
Actually, Local Government is sometimes at its best, compared to some of the National Government services, in that face-to-face interaction. We run people services for people, that’s what Local Government does, and we need to keep that focus as well as responding to the digital savvy.
The other thing that we need to use digital transformation to do is to change our role in society, from being just a service provider, so Local Government as a service provider must continue and must get better and digital transformation can help with that, but it can also allow us to become much more of a champion for community aspirations, for people wanting to do things in the community. We can become a really powerful and potent partner for the third sector, in delivering services. We can also give individuals far more power over their own lives, and ability to work closely with their neighbors to influence their lives. We can address some of the massive challenges out there. Number one has to be climate change, we know we’ve only got a short window before we are into irreversible climate change, which will have all sorts of terrible effects and in our area one of the worst is flooding.
We also have other challenges, one of them is inequality. We know that inequality is driving all sorts of rifts in society, and it’s creating poverty, and poverty of aspiration, and real anguish and suffering in all of our towns, and villages and cities. It’s not something that’s particularly – there is no part of our country or the world which wouldn’t benefit from reducing inequality, and if we have better information and if the role of the Council changes, so that we become the champion for our communities and our citizens then we can begin to address some of the evils caused by inequality and start closing the gap so that we have a much more equal society. That means equal in terms of access to resources and services, family and household incomes, access to housing, but also access to power, access so that people are able to have power and control over their own lives. I think digital transformation has great potential, just allowing the Government to (with permission) know more about the area where they serve, and to provide a different service – this champion of the people.”