...and unfortunately your council tax too
Reporter ROBOTIC software has saved a cash-strapped council more than £1m and freed up hundreds of staff days as human jobs are carried out by machines, it can today be revealed.
Newcastle City Council has freed up 574 staff days and saved a ‘noncashable’ £151,000 per year due to an investment in the state-of-theart technology.
The software, called SX, has been used by the council’s social care and information technology departments for seven years, equating to roughly £1.057m in savings.
Social workers use the software to record life events and other do other administrative tasks, which the council says frees up time for staff to help families under the local authority’s care.
The digital move has also enabled council chiefs to ‘streamline services’ and automate business tasks, meaning social care staff only have to input certain types of data once and not multiple times.
This frees up 314 staff days per year, equating to savings of £76,000 a year.
The product, provided by Yorkshire-based NDL Software, has also been used in the authority’s IT department to record activities – freeing up 260 working days annually, which saves the council a fur- ther £75,000 a year.
Coun Veronica Dunn, cabinet member for resources at Newcastle City Council, said: “The council has been working with Robotic Integration Software across many different services for the past seven years. Our IT department have been instrumental in the success of how we’ve continued to deliver services using digital technology at a time when the council has faced significant cuts to its budget.”
Last week it emerged council spending in Newcastle will be slashed further, with 40 workers sacked and residents forced to cough up more council tax.
Planning the 2018/19 budget, Newcastle City Council said it needs to save £13.3m because of ongoing government grant cuts.
Council tax could be increased by 4.95% for the second year running and the 40 job cuts will be sought through voluntary redundancies. However, none of the proposals have yet been formally agreed.
Commenting on the discovery robotic software is saving the council north of £1m, Newcastle Lib Dem councillor Greg Stone said: “In the past there may have been more people employed on basic admin tasks ... but in the 21st century efficient use of back-office technology can generate savings for important frontline services.
“I think council taxpayers would expect local authorities to be making appropriate use of solutions like these to ensure value for money.” Councillor Veronica Dunn