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Digital move results in jobs cull at Cheshire East Council

Nearly 100 jobs could be cut at Cheshire East Council as its moves towards the government’s “digital by default” policy and encourages customers to go online.

The local authority expects that encouraging citizens to contact it via the website will eventually save around £2.3m a year.

However the move towards digital will cost staff their jobs in the council’s contact centre, corporate services, revenues and development management departments.

It is a move that many other local government bodies across the UK have already had to take, including Stoke-on-Trent and Hull Councils.

Multimillion pound website upgrades

Despite this, Cheshire East is set to invest £4.9m in making its website more user-friendly, enabling residents to access information and services more easily.

Part of the upgrades will focus on making the council’s online presence more mobile-friendly, optimising it for use on smartphones and tablets after it was found 42 per cent of users currently access the site via these devices.

“Designing and promoting services that are ‘digital by default’ will improve access for residents and help the council meet its commitment to be a ‘resident first’ effective and efficient council,” claims a Cheshire East Cabinet document.

“36 per cent of Cheshire East residents prefer to use digital channels in the way they access services today and there is the potential for 70 per cent of our residents to shift to digital in the way they interact with the council.

“Our customer portal will provide a single route into the council’s digital services with information tailored around the individual’s specific needs and requirements,” it adds.