Hampshire SME lands £7M contract to implement SMART Copilot AI platform for Midlands’ council

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ICS.AI, a leader in UK public sector AI transformation which has offices in Grove House  Lutyens Close, Basingstoke, has signed a landmark £7 million, 4-year contract with Derby City Council to transform and improve critical service delivery via its SMART Copilot AI platform.

The project will see ICS.AI’s AI Copilot platform adopted across critical areas such as Adult Social Care, Customer Services and Debt Recovery, and is expected to generate £3.925M of savings during the 2024/25 financial year, rising to a minimum of £12.25 million annually once fully delivered.

This 4-year initiative marks a significant advancement in applying generative AI technologies to enhance customer service operations across the Council’s various departments.

Derby City Council is known for its innovative adoption of phone-based AI customer service during the pilot phase of this partnership, which was launched in 2023. The adoption of AI assistants, developed by ICS.AI, marked Derby City Council as the UK’s first local authority to move beyond traditional interactive voice response systems. Now, the Council is elevating its technological approach, by using emerging AI technology to safeguard services for citizens against a backdrop of increasing demand and rising costs.

With the ICS.AI developed digital assistants, Darcie and Ali, serving as a digital front door to Council services, Derby City Council has already handled over half a million telephone and web queries with AI, resolving 43% of enquiries without input from staff, freeing up their time to focus on more complex queries. This is double the initial target and showcases the impact of AI on operational efficiency and service accessibility.

The project’s next phase will see an expansion of AI capabilities into critical areas such as Adult Social Care, Customer Services, and Debt Recovery, which were selected through comprehensive workshops that identified 54 distinct use cases for AI integration. Following this phase, Derby City Council has future plans to roll out further phases of AI adoption across other service areas. This strategic expansion is not just about enhancing service efficiency but also harnessing advanced generative AI Copilot capabilities to provide more complex and nuanced interactions with residents, ensuring a more responsive and personalised service experience.

Central to this initiative is the deployment of ICS.AI’s SMART Copilot AI platform, which encompasses advanced generative AI capabilities. It’s designed to tackle complex enquiries with remarkable accuracy, mirroring human-like understanding and responsiveness, thus setting a new standard in public sector service provision. With scale and adaptability at its core, the platform combines 24/7 accessibility across contact channels with multilingual features, underscoring a commitment to inclusive service delivery and blending AI technology with traditional contact methods.

Paul Simpson, Chief Executive at Derby City Council, comments: “The continued financial challenges in the local government sector mean we must consider how we can operate most efficiently, while continuing to deliver the best service possible. Derby City Council is a trailblazer in using AI technology. We believe it presents some incredible opportunities, and that used safely and ethically, can help to deliver the best outcomes for our citizens in a more efficient and cost-effective way.”

Martin Neale, CEO of ICS.AI, concludes: “Our collaboration with Derby City Council is at the forefront of AI innovation in the public sector. The introduction of AI Copilots in various service areas demonstrates the breadth and adaptability of our SMART platform in transforming public services. It marks a significant step towards the future of more efficient and effective public services, but also underscores Derby’s commitment to the wellbeing of its residents. This journey is just the beginning, we are excited to see how these new AI Copilots will redefine service delivery and set new standards in public service innovation.”

While this partnership should bring significant financial savings for the Council, ICS.AI, which currently sits at just over £3.5M turnover and 25 employees, expects to double in size over the next year after this and other contract wins. The UK SME, headquartered in Hampshire, was a founding partner of Microsoft’s Inner AI Circle. ICS.AI is now one of the fastest-growing AI companies in the public sector globally.

Robin Denton, Director for Local Government at Microsoft UK, comments on the collaboration: “Derby City Council’s pioneering use of AI, powered by ICS.AI, sets a benchmark in local government for innovative, efficient service delivery. This strategic application of AI technology into different service areas is a significant leap forward, serving as a model for others and making a real difference in the community.”

ICS.AI has already launched several innovative projects across the UK public sector, including improving Durham University’s student engagement and recruitment, transforming customer service operations at Telford & Wrekin Council’s, and supporting the Information Commissioners Office automation and handling of increasing volumes of inbound request and queries.

For more information visit https://www.ics.ai/.

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