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Derby Council & ICS.AI boost AI transformation with GBP £7m project
Wed, 6th Mar 2024

ICS.AI, a leader in the UK's public sector AI transformation, and Derby City Council are set to grow their partnership further with an investment into a four-year, GBP £7 million AI project to reshape public service delivery. Building on their successful pilot scheme, launched in 2023, this initiative demonstrates a significant step forward in exploiting generative AI technologies to enhance customer service operations across various council departments.

Derby City Council's original pilot scheme, which saw them innovatively adopt a phone-based AI customer service system, made them the UK's first local authority to replace traditional interactive voice response systems. They are now positioning themselves at the forefront of technology by utilising AI to maintain vital services in the face of rising demand and inspection costs.

Digital assistants Darcie and Ali, developed by ICS.AI, have already addressed over half a million telephone and web queries on behalf of Derby City Council, resulting in 43% of inquiries being solved without the need for staff intervention. This outcome, which doubles the expected target, emphasises the positive impacts of AI on operational efficiency and service accessibility.

The project's next phase will involve expanding these AI capabilities into crucial areas such as Adult Social Care, Customer Services, and Debt Recovery. This expansion emerged from comprehensive workshops which outlined 54 distinct use cases for AI incorporation. Following this stage, Derby City Council plans to further extend AI adoption across additional service areas, with the ultimate goal of providing more complex and personalised interactions for residents by integrating advanced generative AI Copilot capabilities.

ICS.AI's SMART Copilot AI platform will play a pivotal role in this initiative. The platform offers advanced generative AI capabilities and is designed to handle intricate inquiries with unprecedented accuracy by simulating human understanding and responsiveness. Combining round-the-clock accessibility across various contact channels with multilingual features, this adaptable platform embodies a commitment to inclusive service and a seamless merger of AI technology with traditional contact methods.

Robin Denton, Director for Local Government at Microsoft UK, has praised this strategic use of AI technology, stating that it "sets a benchmark in local government for innovative, efficient service delivery." He further highlighted that the strategic application of this technology could inspire other sectors and bring about significant changes within the community.

The benefits of this technological advance extend beyond enhanced services, with potential annual financial savings for the Council estimated at GBP £12.25 million. Paul Simpson, Chief Executive at Derby City Council, has voiced his belief that AI, when "used safely and ethically", can deliver optimal outcomes while maintaining financial efficiency.

Martin Neale, CEO of ICS.AI, shared his excitement about their innovative collaboration with Derby City Council. He expresses hope that the deployment of AI Copilots across different service areas will redefine service delivery and set new standards in public service innovation.

ICS.AI's precedence in innovative projects spans ventures across the UK public sector, encompassing areas such as strengthening student engagement and recruitment for Durham University, overhauling customer service operations at Telford and Wrekin Councils, and providing support to the Information Commissioner's Office in managing increasing volumes of inbound requests and queries.