Enfield becomes first council to use AI assistant for public enquiries

The London Borough of Enfield has become the first council to use an AI "virtual agent" to deal with public enquiries and improve service delivery.

Known as Amelia, the technology platform is billed by creator IPsoft as having the ability to analyse people's natural language, understand context, apply logic, learn, resolve problems and even sense emotions.

The council is looking at using Amelia on its website to make it easier for residents to find information. She could also be used to provide self-certification for planning and to authenticate applications for permits and licences.

Enfield will start using Amelia from the autumn.

Rob Leak, chief executive of Enfield Council, said: "This is a very exciting opportunity to deliver better services to residents, without increasing costs."

James Rolfe, the council's director of finance, resources and customer services, added: "Our approach to transformation embraces digital technology to find completely new ways of supporting residents, which, in turn, frees up valuable resources for reinvestment in front line services. Deploying IPsoft's world-leading artificial intelligence is another major milestone in this journey."

Frank Lansink, chief executive for the EU at IPsoft, said: "Public organisations around the world, and particularly in the UK, are under considerable pressure to deliver more with less. The consumer digital revolution has opened up interesting new service delivery routes for public bodies, but has also placed high expectations on them, as citizens desire a seamless digital customer experience.

"With the rise of powerful cognitive platforms such as Amelia, government organisations have an opportunity to completely reimagine how frontline public services are delivered. Organisations can not only unlock significant cost efficiencies as routine, high-volume tasks are automated but, more excitingly, can unlock the full creative potential of their people. We're delighted to be working with Enfield Council on this trailblazing programme."