International award for South Kesteven District Council

South Kesteven District Council has won international acclaim after embracing new technology designed to help improve services for residents.

In an innovative public-private partnership SKDC has worked with global consulting firm Ernst & Young (EY) to develop Intelligent Automation within council services.

The partnership has this week been named Newcomer of the Year in the annual Excellence in Connected-RPA (Robotic Process Automation) Awards presented by industry leader Blue Prism. It was up against candidates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

A joint team was set up by SKDC and EY - called BoxEY - to deliver Intelligent Automation in four key areas for the council: Revenues and Benefits; Housing and Repairs; Planning; and Customer Services. It has helped to improve customer experience, increased service delivery and saved money.

SKDC Leader Cllr Kelham Cooke said: "This is fantastic news, and I am delighted that our work in this area has been internationally recognized. By using cutting-edge technology to undertake high volume repetitive tasks, we have been able to improve how we deliver key services for our residents and businesses, while freeing up our staff to focus more on areas that require the human touch of empathy or discretion.

"This is about modernising and future-proofing the way the council works. We are determined to be at the forefront of technological innovation, paving the way for new ways of working that will bring benefits to the communities we represent and serve. As well as being faster and available 24/7, IA can help to cut costs and reduce errors."

Intelligent automation is being used by SKDC in planning processes, for homelessness applications, and in benefits, and is capable of picking up errors in applications that can be corrected straight away.

The Chief Customer Officer at Blue Prism, Jon Theuerkauf, said: "These awards are our way of recognising the groundbreaking works our customers are doing to drive digital transformation in their respective industries.

"We have been impressed with the creative ingenuity in how these organisations are using connected-RPA to drive intelligent automation initiatives and the resulting ability to stay ahead of their competitors."

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges made up of industry analysts, consultants and journalists after submitting answers to an in-depth questionnaire.

Blue Prism donated £1,000 on behalf of each category winner to one of six charities it had selected to benefit. SKDC nominated the Manchester-based Christie Charitable Foundation, a leading organisation in the UK in cancer care, research and education, to receive the money.