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Councils losing money through poor online reporting

2000 phone call

Most local authorities are failing to help residents report missed bin collections by mobile phone, an investigation by public sector IT professionals has found.

The latest Better Connected survey from the IT membership body Socitm concluded that only 41% of councils provided a satisfactory service for people wanting to report missed collections.

A common complaint from the survey was that the council websites often required residents to sign up for customer accounts before they could report missed bins online.

Another concern was the lack of a clear checklist for reporting issues around council services.

County councils, however, were generally found to perform well in providing online information on household waste and recycling services opening times.

Seventy-eight per cent of counties provided a “good” or “very good” service on mobile devices.

Around 17% of all visits to council websites are to do with waste and recycling services.

The report said: “Many councils, particularly shire district and Northern Irish councils, are struggling to provide a good experience from a mobile phone despite the fact that 81% enable online reporting from mobiles.”

It added: “Clear communication saves time for the customer and money for the council because phone calls to check information and wrongly reported bins are avoided.”

Socitm argues councils could make considerable savings by making bin collection management fully digital.

In 2013, Socitm estimated that councils could save up to £19m per year by improving online information about waste facilities.

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