Plans to completely overhaul Oxfordshire County Council by cutting jobs and using new technology were given the go-ahead yesterday (Tuesday, October 16).
Councillors agreed a major investment in digital technology ‘to improve customer service and reduce council running costs’ in a bid to save up to £58m.
Chief executive Yvonne Rees said: “We know that the council has to change as the needs of Oxfordshire residents change, and we have to provide more services with fewer resources.
“Councillors have decided that now is the time to make a major investment to ensure that we provide services more effectively so we can continue to support the county’s thriving communities in the future.
“Residents who are used to booking holidays online or checking their bank balance will see real improvements in their dealings with the council.
“We also know that computers are not for everyone and I would like to reassure those people that there will still be a personal touch for those who need it.”
The redesigned council will enable residents to report faults or book appointments online, freeing up staff time to help to service users who cannot go online or have complex care needs, a council spokesman said.
Outdated ICT systems make it hard to join up services and will be replaced, with admin tasks automated to save money and make the council run more smoothly, the spokesman added.
The changes are part of the county council’s long-term vision of ‘thriving communities for everyone in Oxfordshire’.
The redesign is also supposedly needed to secure the council’s long-term financial stability as demand for services continues to rise – particularly for children and adult social care.
Last month the cabinet approved the plan to work with specialist advisors PwC as the programme management partner, with the likelihood of other partners being brought in for specific projects.