Council staff are set to go mobile

A new electronic system is being rolled out by Northumberland County Council which represents the latest stage of improving services in the county's market towns.

Saturday, 5th March 2016, 2:59 pm
Aerial view of Berwick-Upon-Tweed from the Town Hall
Aerial view of Berwick-Upon-Tweed from the Town Hall

The ‘Total Mobile’ system is the pre-cursor to the physical move by the council back into market towns - one of the administration’s pledges in the 2013 elections.

The digital system for outreach working has been adopted by the council for the ‘significant benefits’ it will bring to individual council services and the public delivery of those services.

It will enable the council to develop drop in centres in market towns where public can meet staff, as well as providing workers with drop in and download facilities to keep vital information updated daily.

Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council said: “Despite the fact we are England’s sparsest council we’ve had our sparsity funding removed by Government along with an 82% cut in our revenue grant.

“That’s money to safeguard jobs and services being slashed over the next four years along with rural services grant running out over the next two years.

“That’s why we’ve had to design a new service delivery model for the future. Total Mobile will help us do this, as will the roll out of market town bases that also begins following the budget setting debate.”

Total Mobile will enable more staff to work locally and make better use of their time by saving long journeys between offices.

Instead they will simply drop in to their ‘local office’ and download their work. There will also be a video conferencing system allowing regular contact and quicker decision making between the workforce and managers.

Across the council Google is being rolled-out which means which means staff can access work in different locations and from devices like phones and tablets.

Already teams ranging from social services through to Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are using the new technology to allow them to work more efficiently away from the office.

Councillor Davey added: “This new system will allow local people to interact with the council at locations near to them, rather than all staff working out of a centralised hub in Morpeth.

“We are committed to servicing people’s needs locally and I can’t understand why some people would want it any other way.

“Travelling to our current HQ in Morpeth can be a difficult journey for many people as it’s some distance from the town centre.

“What we want is for residents to be able to pop in to local offices when they’re out at the shops, similar to when services were delivered by district councils.

“We’re working to introduce Total Mobile in all our market towns.”