Principles met

  • We will embrace innovation in how we work with local communities to drive positive change.
  • We will capture and ‘expand’ the experience and learning from individual projects and approaches in order to encourage broader application of co-operative principles within individual member Councils and across the Network.
  • In exploring new ways of meeting the priority needs of our communities we will encourage models, such as co-operatives and mutuals, which give greater influence and voice to staff and users. in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.

Derby City Council, in collaboration with ICS.AI, a leader in public sector AI transformation, has introduced an innovative approach to enhancing resident engagement through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The council implemented two AI digital assistants, Darcie and Ali, aimed at streamlining customer service operations efficiently. Darcie assists with general council services, while Ali focuses on housing queries for Derby Homes customers. These AI assistants leverage a sophisticated local government language model, which is pre-trained with over 1,000 intents covering a broad spectrum of council and housing services. They provide round-the-clock service and handle enquiries in a human-like manner, becoming the primary contact point on the council’s telephone switchboards as well as via the website channel. 


The implementation of these digital assistants is part of a broader AI-driven transformation aimed at addressing a significant funding gap and increasing demand for services. By automating routine enquiries, Darcie and Ali aim to enhance operational efficiency, freeing up council staff to address more complex issues that require human interaction. To date, they have managed over 750,000 queries, effectively doubling the initial target deflection rate from 21% to 43% and generating over £200,000 in savings. 

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