Councillor Mark Duffy

Council urged to use email instead of post

A MAYO councillor wants the local authority to switch from traditional post to email for its correspondences.

Ballina Councillor Mark Duffy tabled a notion of motion calling on Mayo County Council to end the postage of correspondence to councillors and the general public and to replace it with an emailing process, with an opt-in option for any person who requires postage.

The move will, he said, lead to large cost savings for the council and improve sustainability measures for the county.

In a written reply, Councillor Duffy was told the move to electronic has become increasingly important in recent years and has been escalated by the Covid crisis.

While increased digitisation of services is to be welcomed, it had to be noted that the council has a wide range of functions and provides services to a diverse population. Accessibility, inclusion and digital literacy had to be considered when communicating with the public, together with the nature of the correspondence, for example statutory notices.

There are several options available to the council to engage with citizens electronically and save money on postage while also making the transactions user friendly and efficient. Most suppliers already avail of electronic payments and remittance notices and email is a common method of communication.

There is, he was told, an opportunity to extend this by increased use of email and to also partake in the government's new digital postbox platform, a deliverable of the 2019-2023 Public Service Data Strategy.

The information systems department has begun engagement with the Office of the Chief Information Officer on the feasibility of using the newly launched national digital postbox.

The system works in the same way that banks and some central government agencies have been engaging with customers and citizens in that a central postbox is available as a secure repository for official government correspondence.

In parallel with this all sections in the county will review their postage and where appropriate use electronic means, being mindful of the needs of the individuals or groups and the nature of the communications.

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