Mobile & Flexible Working To Save Billions In Government Spending

How can local government make savings and improve services? Go mobile says Anuj Khanna, CEO, Wireless Expertise supported by their research in mobile and flexible working
Aug. 10, 2009 - PRLog -- How can local government make savings and improve services?

If “Quantitave Easing” is out of the question, how can local councils cope with a burden of spending against limited ability to raise council taxes? This is the question going through the head of every local authority chief where they are trying to improve standards of services and cut spending.
We at the Wireless Expertise estimate that the UK government can save up to £9 billion a year by making better use of mobile technology and flexible working practices.
The Mobile Dasta Association, UK carried out a survey of 392 local authorities in England and Scotland and received responses from over 1,200 employees. 85 per cent of the respondents acknowledge that there is already a project in a pilot stage where their local authority is considering mobile and flexible working.
50 per cent of the respondents, however, felt that embarking into mobile had risks and were not confident about the success of their projects.
Let us bust some myths about mobile as the technology has come a long way in the last five years.

Mobile myths

Myth no 1: Mobile is expensive

With a cost of text message costing less than ten pence it is far cheaper than post and voice calls.
With a 1GB 3G data card (some call them dongles) costing just £10 per month, it is far cheaper to enable mobile working for field employees than asking them to complete paper trails and drive to the office to submit reports and melt the arctic with propped up CO2 emissions.

Myth no 2: Mobile is complicated

Grandmothers and teenagers use it, using mobile cannot be simpler.
There are more phones than people and Brits send over 65 billion text messages a year. 25 per cent of the UK population use mobile internet services.
You can send an SOS if your boat has capsized, book a taxi, vote for Big Brother, book concert tickets or divorce your spouse with a simple text message.

Myth no 3: It needs specialist software

Unlike IT vendors, mobile application service providers focus on services rather than expensive software development.
There are specialist service providers for text messaging, wap portals and field service automation, which can provide packaged mobility solutions rather than scoping large IT projects.
With the widespread availability of 3G data cards and wireless LAN many existing applications can be mobilised.
Given below is the list of some examples where mobile technology is being put to good use in the public sector by improving services and cutting costs.

Mobile in action

The London Borough of Newham, in partnership with Transport for London, has unveiled a new service for its residents, visitors and businesses. They can now access all the council services they need, from being able to find jobs, to reporting graffiti, on their mobiles, through one simple mobile website. The service not only enables access to council services on the move, but also delivers a range of local information, maps, access to local and national transport information, search from directory enquiries company 118 118, or even allows you to plan a night out with the latest pubs and clubs news and reviews.
Mynewham also enables communities to build their own networks with schools, voluntary organisations and sports clubs all able to communicate with their own members., can be accessed simply by texting the word Newham to 65101 and then following the instructions from the link you receive.
The London Borough of Lewisham has implemented a mobile job dispatch and management service for its field craft workers offering faster resolution of maintenance requests from tenants, cutting administrative costs and unnecessary travel to the depot for the sake of depositing job reports.
Crestwood College in Eastleigh, Hampshire is using text messaging alerts to support their anti-truancy initiatives. Theresa Holma, attendance officer at Crestwood, welcomed the new initiative and commented: “Because text messaging is instant, it has cut down the time I used to spend making phone calls and delivers better results. It has helped me get students into school and makes it easier for us to keep in regular touch with students and parents in ongoing situations concerning absence.”
City of London Police has launched an SMS service, which will allow people in the City to use their mobile phones to contact the police in non-emergency situations. The SMS service is aimed mainly at people that have hearing or speech impediments but it is available to all City residents. This will replace the existing typetalk and textphone services.

Making life easier

Hillingdon Council has implemented mobile working for its entire operation. Nick McCarthy, network communications support manager at Hillingdon Council, points out the practical benefits of this system: “There are numerous ways in which the mobile solution has increased the productivity and efficiency of our staff. For example, our lawyers are able to access up to date information and conduct necessary research from the courtroom, which makes their job a lot easier.
“Similarly, officers making house calls to chase payments can immediately find the necessary file and see how the situation stands. If there is any uncertainty as to the status of a payment, previously, the officer would have been forced to call or to return to the office to locate this information, taking up valuable time.”
The NHS has successfully set up an SMS appointment reminder service. The SMS alert system has helped reduce missed appointment rate by a considerable margin – from between 15 and 18 per cent at the time of installation, to between four and five per cent in certain NHS centres such as The Vale Medical Centre in Lewisham.
Without exaggeration there are hundreds of good examples of cost savings and better CRM with the use of mobile services. The WIRELESS EXPERTISE believes local authorities are moving in the right direction and have demonstrated the benefits of mobile and flexible working.
There are lessons to be learnt from industry that can further enhance both the speed of deployment and the satisfaction of the users and thus further enhance the authorities’ efficiency and response to their citizens.
For more information contact

Anuj Khanna
CEO, Wireless Expertise Ltd

Mobile:    +44 7916 056 916

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Wireless Expertise focuses on helping Brands and Mobile Operators develop mobile applications and value added services. The company specialises in delivering strategic business consulting, marketing and product development services.

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