Barnsley Council rolls out Copilot for Microsoft 365 at scale

Image of Microsoft apps / Barnsley Council rolls out Copilot for Microsoft 365 at scale

Barnsley Council is one of the first UK councils to roll out the GenAI assistant Copilot for Microsoft 365 at scale.

The council is integrating Copilot into many of the programs and apps that its workers are already using, such as PowerPoint and Teams. Additionally, staff across finance, HR, legal and other divisions are adopting it to streamline their workloads, as the technology has also proven useful in social care.

Copilot can reorganize visit notes into accurate records and divide them into categories, with the potential to save social workers hours of analysis, enabling them to prioritize urgent interventions. The AI tool can also quickly summarize large files when social workers take on a new case, highlighting key information and major risk factors. However, the application still requires human oversight and is only there to augment the skills of the person using it.

Barnsley also intends on using Copilot to make social care training materials and filter through large data sets to ensure records are accurate and up to date.

Because of the implementation, the council has made 180 of its staff ‘flight crew’, as they can help their colleagues make use of the Copilot technology. This is on top of the demos, workshops, weekly standups, training sessions and walkthroughs delivered by their implementation partner, CPS.

Barnsley Council’s relationship with Microsoft will also be integral to the council’s AI plans as it works towards Barnsley 2030, an ambitious shared strategy for the borough to fulfill its potential.

A Barnsley social worker, said: “[Copilot has] been really useful for writing up calls, tidying up notes or doing minutes after a meeting and making all that a lot quicker.

“It means I’m not having to concentrate quite as much on scribbling things down, so it frees up brain space to really focus  if I’m chairing a meeting, for example.”

The spokesperson added: “It’s nicely integrated within all the Microsoft products we already use. You can just click on something and it will give you the option to summarize the text, generate minutes or whatever it might be.”

Other recent Microsoft news include its expanded partnership with Axel Springer, aiming to leverage cutting-edge innovation to support independent journalism around the world. The company has also collaborated with Estée Lauder to create an AI Innovation Lab as an expansion of their global strategic partnership.