Councils turn to AI to achieve £195 million savings

A new survey of local authorities has found that councils across the country are expecting to save £195 million this year by introducing artificial intelligence technology techniques.

Councils across the UK expect to save an average of £300,000 in the next year through greater use of AI and another £180,000, on average, through the deployment of self-learning chatbots. In fact, one in six local authorities anticipate savings between £750,000 and £1 million purely through the introduction of AI technology. In total, the savings amount to savings of £195 million across unitary, borough, district and county councils in the UK.

Agile Datum found that financial savings, faster resolution of enquiries, freeing up staff to focus on citizen engagement and more accurate processing were the key reasons behind the trend. Reducing call volumes (86 per cent), financial savings (80 per cent) and improving customer services (64 per cent) were the main reasons cited for introducing chatbots. Agile Datum says that chatbots have the potential to introduce 15 per cent extra capacity and AI another 35 per cent capacity into every local government department.

To help deliver these new technologies, most councils expect to have a chatbot strategy (90 per cent) and artificial intelligence strategy (91 per cent) in place within 12-18 months, with over half expecting to have these strategies in place within six months. Nearly a quarter of councils (24 per cent) already have an AI strategy in place.

Anthony Peake, managing director of Agile Datum , said: “Chatbot technology, in particular self-learning AI models, is advancing rapidly. The potential to free up resources and staff time from an array of administrative tasks is huge. Councils are moving towards a strategic approach on how best to maximise benefits and are starting to implement AI through tools like chatbots and automated processing of documents. At a time of on-going financial challenges for local government, it’s hugely encouraging that councils are now looking at the opportunities that artificial intelligence brings.”

Please register to comment on this article