Friday 10 November 2023

Brent Council to trial use of artificial intelligence in helping to answer residents' complaints


A question from Cllr Jayanti Patel, who is shaping up as one of the more incisive members of the Scrutiny Committee, elicited the revelation that the Council has a pilot project using artificial intelligence to assist in answering complaints from residents.

Its use would be part of the council's digital transformation programme where residents will be expected to go on-line as much as possible, athough Muhammed Butt assured residents that telephone, email and calling into the Civic Centre would still be possible.


The committee were told by a senior officer:

As part of the Digital Strategy we are looking at AI, There are a number of ethical issues around all of it. Our first venture isto the AI world is to pilot the development of an AI tool that will take a complaint,  read the complaint, investigate all of the systems to draw out all the information about that complaint, and then compose a response tht is empathetic, that answers all the questions and would meet all of what we expect to be a good standard of response.

That would not just go off to the individual [complainant]. It would go to an officer to double check that the information is accurate and correct.

We should have the first prototype built by the end of the month. It is an AI product that would connect to our systems and we are doing it in a very controlled way. If it works it would be deployed in July 2024 at some point.

Cllr Tatler chimed in to say that AI is still very new and Brent was one of the first councils to make sure  that ethics was built around it:

There are still a lot of unknowns and we don't want to lose the human element of how we deal with residents, so it is absolutely right that we do this bit by bit rather than go full swing into digital systems.




Anonymous said...

If only the current councillors and council officers could "take a complaint, read the complaint ... compose a response tht is empathetic, that answers ... and ... meets all of what we expect to be a good standard of response"

Local councillors don't respond and council officers don't answer all the questions asked by residents if they make a complaint.

Martin Francis said...

Worth checking the questions from the public on the agenda of the next Council meeting and decide whether the lead members have actually answered them.

Anonymous said...

If Towerblock Tatler thinks AI is the way to go, as I quote says "there are lots of unknowns and we don't want to lose the human element of how we deal with residents" clearly she has never tried as a resident to contact ANY HUMAN working at the Council, as it is nigh on impossible to speak to anyone. Even more so if it doesn't fit into the algorithim on their internet system, which is also either no working correctly or spouting out of date or incorrect information.

Anonymous said...

Great shame that so few Brent Councilors attended the Brent Rememberance Service at Barham Park today.

We didn't spot any from Alperton or Wembley Central wards 😞