A member of the Abavus R&D team has been incessant for us to incorporate ChatGPT AI technology into our My Council Services offering. To get me on board with the idea, we needed to write a letter to a client, so I agreed to have ChatGPT draft the letter. We quickly set the criteria and parameters in the engine, and hey presto, it drafted us a letter!

Okay, admittedly the letter wasn’t good enough to be sent out immediately, but it was about 75% there. This letter could have taken up to an hour to write, but with the help of AI we completed it in less than half the time. I was impressed – this was clever stuff!

Now that AI technology is on my radar, I’ve started seeing references to ChatGPT everywhere, even picking the best Premier League starting 11 of all time or providing a personalised workout program.

Putting aside the sporting references and wider ethical considerations, it got me thinking how local authorities could benefit from deploying an engine like this. Off the top of my head, I came up with five possible local government applications.


Leveraging ChatGPT to encourage self-service

Chatbots and virtual assistants are seeing increasing use at local authorities, to the points where it’s actively being encouraged by the UK government.

By training ChatGPT within their IT infrastructure, local authorities can implement it on their website as a virtual assistant to provide information and answer frequently asked questions. There is also potential for it to be used as an advanced spellchecker, helping to clean up a customer’s query, application, comment, or complaint before they submit it. There is also opportunity for local authorities with diverse language requirements, as ChatGPT can also be trained to communicate in multiple languages! Altogether, this would help reduce customer support burden and create a more accessible service.


Assisting with policy development

Particularly in central government, but in local government also, whole departments are set aside for policy development activity. Whilst ChatGPT won’t hold focus groups for you, again it is a rich data source upon which to collate related research and best practice by analysing a wide range of sources (reports, academic papers, legal documents, other organisational policies, etc). This supports staff to make informed decisions, but ChatGPT can also aid them in drafting policy documents by inputting goals, objectives, key considerations, and other relevant information. Generated content will obviously require human review and amendment, but quick data collation and document structuring could save a great deal of time.


Augmenting customer contact centres with ChatGPT

Oftentimes, customer contact centre staff are dealing with high volumes of requests emanating from various data sources related to the council. Operatives do not have the time to write long and detailed responses to every single request coming in, but they still need to respond to customers with appropriate answers and correct information.

Who says ChatGPT can only be used for customers? Your contact centre staff can use it in their day-to-day activities as well! Staff can interact with it to retrieve any information related to a customer’s query, even discreetly in real-time while talking to a customer on the phone. If they need to craft a written response, ChatGPT can also assist them with writing and shaping the response using base keywords before final review and send-off.


Crafting freedom of information requests and customer complaints

Responding to an ever-increasing mountain of FOIA requests and customer complaints is an industry itself. Whilst a lot of responses will be boiler plated many will require wider information, other data sources to cross reference against, and some will require carefully crafted responses. Whilst these activities will still require human intervention there is a place for ChatGPT as a data collation source and a means of crafting related letters.


ChatGPT can help HR departments too

Writing job descriptions for vacancies, grading a job against a particular management level, and evaluating a job against salaries in similar jobs takes time.

ChatGPT can assist in this process. By providing all necessary information (position details, qualifications, responsibilities, skills, etc) and asking it to write a job description, ChatGPT can quickly generate a draft that can then be finalised by relevant personnel. There is also potential for the system to help filter candidate applications, helping HR personnel focus on evaluating a shortlist of candidates that fit as many qualifications as possible. This makes the entire process much more efficient – I wish I had access to this technology when I worked in HR years ago!


With AI technology now firmly on our company radar, we’re looking forward to showing you how this will be used over the forthcoming months in conjunction with our wider My Council Services capability. Look out for future updates!