Local services via remote control
by Mark Smith
News of cuts in the public sector is everywhere at the moment, as calls are being made to make public services more accessible. It could be argued that this is a far from ideal situation.
However, an increasing number of public services are being made available online which could potentially ease communication between local authorities, the NHS and the public, improving the overall customer experience. This could also help public services to manage demand more effectively during these troubled times.
Residents in each area can access a range of services, including GP appointment bookings, reporting problems to the council, searching for jobs and many others.
The beauty of Looking Local is that you don’t need a computer to access it (although that is one way). You can use the same service on digital television (Sky and Virgin at the moment, Freeview to follow later in the year), mobile phone and even through a Nintendo Wii.
This approach gives people more options, so there’s more of a chance of them being able to access these services when and how they want to. This is especially useful to people who are housebound or who are unable to use a computer, for whatever reason. Such people, and those who support them, could be shown how Looking Local works, which could be of benefit to them.
The job now, is to raise awareness of the service. This is being done by Local Authorities, including Carmarthenshire County Council where our colleagues have been developing the service as part of their involvement with Communities 2.0.
This week – which has been Looking Local week – they’ve visited council contact centres in Carmarthenshire to engage directly with the public. It’s clear, over the coming months, that there is a need to maintain a marketing effort, using all available tools, so that Looking Local’s potential can be realised in Wales.
Screenshot of Looking Local on Virgin TV: