Council service is ‘saving cash’

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THOUSANDS of Ashfield residents are using a new internet information service which is saving taxpayers’ cash.

Ashfield District Council’s ‘Streetlevel’ property data application has been used 2,144 times in the last three months.

It uses technology to provide a wealth of facts about individual homes in one place, including bin collection dates and planning information.

“The addition of Streetlevel to the council website has been a real hit,” said Matthew Longman, the authority’s geographic information system manager.

After the service began providing bin collection dates for individual homes in time for changes last September, its enquiries increased 10-fold.

“This project was about more than just a change in bin day - the successful development of alternative communication channels resulted in real gains for the council,” added Mr Longman.

Linking bin dates to Streetlevel also helped the authority secure a runner-up spot in a green award category at the national Exemplar event.

Officers say providing the information online means less people need to call or visit the council in person, providing big cost savings for the authority.

Estimates suggest each online query costs the council 39p to service, compared with £3.21 per phone enquiry and £8.23 for a face-to-face visit, resulting in big savings.

The figures work out to a potential £11,500 saved in the last three months.

Residents’ groups have welcomed the development of the service.

Mike Slack, of Kirkby Area Residents’ Association, has used it to look up information.

“It is quite informative and useful but it could do with being a bit more prominent on the website,” he said.