Digital forms can help councils cut costs by allowing residents to self-service.

Online forms can be linked with internal customer relationship systems so that the information is automatically updated. Fees, fines and rates can also be paid online. As a result, councils can cut the time and money spent on handling and processing paper forms.

For example, Mornington Peninsula Shire is introducing online payments for rates and permits. As part of this process, nearly all paper forms will be made digital. This will make service delivery more efficient and “much more like dealing with a bank”, the Shire’s Chief Executive Officer has said.

Councils can also use digital forms to allow resident to report issues, even letting them tag the location and attach a photo from their mobile devices. The forms are encrypted so that users’ personal data is secure.

But there will only be cost savings if customers can easily complete the transactions on their own, without calling the government or visiting a service centre. Councils can do this by meeting certain criteria for their digital services, which OpenCities has identified in a recent report.

If you would like to learn more from OpenCities, fill in your form below and download the report.