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Author Topic: Five lucky residents will win the cash equivalent of their council tax  (Read 2233 times)
Posts: 35

« on: December 14, 2010, 05:21:42 PM »

Local Life keeps residents in touch with the council – and each other

A new website launched by the Royal Borough will not only give residents greater access to council information and services but also allow them to create a vibrant online community for their local area.

Local Life –  – puts residents at the heart of council business and is an innovative way of developing the borough’s pioneering role in The Big Society. One of its key features is a one-stop-shop to council transparency with access to information from the council’s own data systems.

Local Life enables local people to:

  • directly express their views and report problems like potholes and broken street furniture
  • sign up for electronic council tax billing and payments
  • take part in online discussions about local issues in their street, ward or area
  • be part of consultations and surveys
  • personalise their web pages to find and share information about services, facilities and events
  • access information feeds about subjects of interest.

Residents are being encouraged to use the secure area of Local Life for paying their council tax and other bills – and to launch the scheme the council is running a free prize draw.

Residents who register for this online billing will be entered into the draw with the opportunity of winning the cash equivalent of their 2010/11 council tax. Five cash prizes will be up for grabs by residents who register by 12noon on Friday 14 January 2011, with the winners announced on Friday 21 January.

Cllr Liam Maxwell, lead member for policy and performance, said: “We have developed Local Life in reponse to what residents have told us about improving access to council services and creating a real sense of online community.

“They said they wanted things to be simpler and more transparent, with a local focus and easy opportunities to express their views – good or bad. Community is central to Local Life. Our aim is for it to become a place where residents and groups share their ideas, talk about the issues they care about and help the council come up with solutions.”

Cllr Maxwell also pointed to the financial benefits to all council taxpayers if Local Life grows in popularity.

He explained: “The more we can do to encourage residents to use online services the more we can reduce council running costs. For example, sending out paper bills and reminders for council tax costs the council £23,000 a year. With 70% of our local residents having access to the internet, we want to encourage them to opt for electronic billing which would save thousands of pounds of council taxpayers’ money.”

The Royal Borough is also the first local authority in the UK to offer residents access to financial and other information available free through Local Life.

Cllr Liam Maxwell added: “The Royal Borough is leading the way on transparency nationally and we are determined to make sure that everything that can be made public is freely available.

“Transparency means that residents can see clearly, for example, how much and where we are spending public money, how much councillors are claiming on expenses, and complaints and comments about council services. It also offers ideas for comparing spend with other authorities – perhaps in a service they receive – to check they are getting value for money.

“This is a great addition to Local Life and I am confident the public will see it as a really useful way of keeping a check on how their council is performing.”

Anthony Kemp, director of resources, said: "The transparency area in Local Life creates a single point for residents to analyse council information.

“It goes far beyond spend or just spend with our suppliers. We are hoping it will help us reduce the number and costs of freedom of information requests simply because so much information will be so easily and directly accessible.”

Local Life is now up and running at Registration is free and easy to set up.

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