The demand for deeper and more involved community engagement is accelerating at a pace that threatens to exceed the capacity of government to meet those demands.
The good news is that across the public sector, technology is offering a path forward.
Local councils play a significant role in Australian society in terms of community engagement and service delivery, which means there’s great potential for councils to use new technologies to improve participation, services and quality of life for their communities.
When it comes to interactions with councils, the proportion of citizens engaged in local decision-making will grow, with the majority of interactions to be made through self-service technology.
Citizens expect council service delivery to be online, effective and effortless, and communities want to engage and participate in local government on established digital technology platforms, such as mobiles, PCs and smart devices.
It’s imperative that councils research new applications, tools and technologies supported by, and in collaboration with, their IT partners to ensure the broad catalogue of citizen engagement and democracy tools available to them are on their shopping list.
Technology in every-day life is growing in importance and, for most citizens, their main interaction with local council is through self-service technology. This will only increase.
Citizens see a number of areas where technology can improve their day-to-day and longer term community experience, such as easily reporting issues that affect them as ratepayers online or via their smartphones.
The use of social media to engage local councils is also expected to nearly double over the next five years and could become the primary tool for engagement in the future.
Fortunately there’s plenty of scope for local councils to improve customer experience through technology – if they’re willing to make the investment.
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