CHANGES to a council’s customer services has seen savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The digital projects team at Durham County Council has successfully led the way in transforming the way in which customers interact with the authority, saving over £700,000.

As a result of this, the team has been given a Modern Service Delivery Award from Granicus, an international company focused on helping government organisations build better customer experiences.

As part of the transformation, services were reviewed and remodelled following extensive work with customers and stakeholders.

A new digital first approach was adopted, and significant improvements made to the council’s website and online services. Over 137,000 customers now choose to transact online through the easy to use ‘do it online’ service making it the preferred method for contacting the council.

Cllr Andrea Patterson, cabinet member for corporate services and rural issues, said: “The award recognises we are improving communication and showing our commitment to our customers.

“Not only is reporting online easy and convenient for customers, it also enables us to direct requests straight to the front line.

“Processes now have automated emails to keep customers up-to-date with what we are doing, reducing the need for them to contact us. SMS messaging is now used to proactively update customers and to inform councillors of a wide range of issues.”