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Exploring AI’s potential in Local Government: Insights from Telford and Wrekin Council’s Customer Services AI Assessment

Updated: Jun 11

Woman sitting on the couch and talking on the phone

In the ever-evolving landscape of public service, embracing innovation solutions is crucial for enhancing efficiency and responsiveness, particularly in customer services where over 60% of interactions still occur via the phone. Many councils, however, face challenges in understanding how to apply technological advancements to their operations and what steps are necessary.

We recently launched our Customer Service AI Assessment - a comprehensive program designed to equip councils with the essential tools, knowledge, and insights necessary to effectively evaluate phone-based AI for customer service operations. Tailored to simplify the complexities of initial AI evaluation, our service ensures that you are well-prepared to understand and leverage AI for transformative outcomes.  

Telford and Wrekin Council has been at the forefront of exploring AI integration, championed by Gemma Hancox, their Group Customer Contact Manager. We were recently joined by Gemma, who shared her team’s valuable experience from participating in the Customer Services AI Assessment.

Setting the Stage with Early AI Successes 


Gemma’s journey with AI began with the implementation of an AI assistant, TOM, on the council’s website. The initiative provided 24/7 support, utilising intuitive web forms that boosted user engagement. The integration led to a staggering 69% reduction in web chat volumes, a 35% decrease in call volumes, and a 16.5% reduction in call wait times.  Encouraged by these results, the council was motivated to review how they can replicate this success in phone-based customer service channels. “The success we achieved with TOM set the stage for exploring AI’s potential across other service channels”, Gemma commented.

Demonstrating Value Through a Hands-On Trial  

The Customer Services AI Assessment offered a practical, hands-on trial experience with phone-based AI that allowed stakeholders to directly engage with the technology, showcasing its potential to streamline service delivery and improve accessibility. “The trial allowed our different stakeholder groups including leaders, various council departments, and residents, to experience the technology first-hand, fostering confidence and excitement about its potential,” explained Gemma.  

Bridging the Gap with Stakeholders 

Successful adoption of new technology often hinges on securing buy-in from key stakeholders. The assessment facilitated this by providing opportunities for stakeholders to interact with the AI system, observe its benefits in real-time, and provide feedback. “It was about showing, not just telling. We let the technology speak for itself, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” shared Gemma. This inclusive approach helped dissolve any doubts and built collective confidence in the technology’s value - smoothing the path for future acceptance and implementation.  


Demonstrating the Impact 

The assessment was invaluable for demonstrating the AI’s impact on the council's operations to a broader group of decision-makers. It provided tangible data and examples of the AI’s potential for efficiency and customer satisfaction enhancements. It served as a practical illustration of the AI’s ability to handle a wide range of enquiries, further proving its robustness and adaptability. 

“The AI Customer Service Assessment offered a firsthand look at the technology in action, showcasing the tangible benefits it can deliver. It provides a pressure-free environment to evaluate its effectiveness, allowing senior management and team members to get a taste of the product, understand its potential and the advantages it offers”. - Gemma Hancox, Customer Contact Group Manager Communities, Customer and Commercial Services, Telford and Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin Council logo

Future Vision and Adoption Strategy


Looking forward, Gemma sees vast potential for AI to transform local government services further. “The potential for AI to improve our efficiency and customer satisfaction is immense, especially for out-of-hours services”.  From handling emergency calls out of hours to aiding social workers and managing public enquiries during crises like floods, the possibilities are vast. The AI’s ability to operate 24/7 fundamentally changes how services can be delivered, ensuring that the council remains responsive. 

Reflections from Gemma  

Gemma shared further insights on her assessment experience: 


  • On early success: "Winning the Efficiency and Transformation award at the APSE awards in 2023 was a testament to AI’s capabilities and motivated us to review how we could expand its application." 

  • On stakeholder engagement: "Involving everyone early within the assessment, from management to frontline staff, will be key to our adoption success.”  

  • On the future of AI in local government: "AI isn’t just about replacing old systems; it’s about enhancing how we interact with residents and manage services." 


The Customer Services AI Assessment is more than a technology trial, it is a pathway to digital transformation for local governments. Councils like Telford and Wrekin are demonstrating how strategic AI implementation can significantly improve operational efficiency and customer service. This assessment offers a structured approach to understanding AI effectively, promising a future where public service delivery meets today’s digital expectations. 

Begin your journey towards a smarter, more responsive local government 

If Gemma’s story inspires you and you’re keen to explore what AI can do for your council’s customer service operations, join our next Customer Service AI Assessment introduction session. Discover firsthand how AI can streamline service delivery and enhance customer interactions. Register to start your journey towards a smarter, more responsive local government.  

About the AI Customer Service Assessment:  

The AI Customer Service Assessment offers a comprehensive program designed to equip councils with the essential tools, insights, and expertise for evaluating phone-based AI technologies. Participants benefit from a live tailored AI trial, extensive support materials, detailed business case development, and insights from successful implementations.  

Join a network of innovators and gain direct access to expert advice, ensuring a streamlined understanding of AI applications, enhanced stakeholder engagement, and minimised adoption risks. Its structured pathway not only demystifies the initial evaluation of AI but also prepares councils to harness its transformative potential for improved operational efficiency and customer service. Learn more about the Assessment here.  

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