Council’s new system allows flexible work

Northumberland County Council's headquarters in Morpeth.
Northumberland County Council's headquarters in Morpeth.

A new electronic system is being rolled out by the county council which represents the latest stage of improving services in Northumberland’s market towns.

The Total Mobile system is the precursor to the physical move by Northumberland County Council back into market towns – one of the administration’s pledges in the 2013 elections and something it sees as part and parcel of the controversial move of the authority’s HQ from Morpeth to Ashington.

The digital system for outreach working has been adopted by the council for the ‘significant benefits’ it will bring to individual council services and the public delivery of those services.

It will enable the council to develop drop-in centres in market towns where public can meet staff, as well as providing workers with drop-in and download facilities to keep vital information updated daily.

Coun Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “Despite the fact we are England’s sparsest council, we’ve had our sparsity funding removed by Government along with an 82 per cent cut in our revenue grant.

“That’s money to safeguard jobs and services being slashed over the next four years along with rural services grant running out over the next two years.

“That’s why we’ve had to design a new service delivery model for the future. Total Mobile will help us do this, as will the roll-out of market-town bases that also begins following the budget-setting debate.”

Total Mobile will enable more staff to work locally and make better use of their time by saving long journeys between offices. Instead they will simply drop in to their local office and download their work.

There will also be a video-conferencing system allowing regular contact and quicker decision-making between the workforce and managers.

Staff will be able access work in different locations and from devices like phones and tablets.

Already teams ranging from social services through to Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service are using the new system, allowing them to work more efficiently out of the office.