Achieving for Children

Funding from LGA Digital Inclusion Programme for AfC chatbot pilot

Achieving for Children (AfC) is pleased to announce that, after bidding to the Local Government Association (LGA)*, we will receive £15,000 to implement a 12-month chatbot pilot on our AfCinfo website.

AfCinfo is a website which includes the Special Educational Needs and Disability Local Offer. It was created to provide children, young people and families with necessary resources, relevant to specific needs. It was launched in 2015 and its design was developed collaboratively with children, young people and families and partner organisations.

Over the past four years, the website has improved in line with feedback from the parent-carer and young people forums and feedback submitted through the website. However, with a lot of information on one site, challenges around navigating the site easily have arisen. A chatbot was a suggestion by a young person as they had seen it operate effectively on other similar sites.

The chatbot will work as a digital website assistant to support navigation. It will be activated by the user via an icon: users will be able to type in a question about the information or subject they are looking for. The chatbot will either provide suggestions or a link directing the user to the relevant area(s) of the website. A chatbot is an application that continuously learns through artificial intelligence, based on engagement and feedback from users.

Our 12-month pilot will assist children, young people and families to have access to 24/7 website navigation support.

The chatbot will be launched in early 2020 and we will get regular feedback from children, young people and families on itst functionality. Young people’s voices will continue to be a hugely critical part of the development, for example getting the views and experience of the newly formed Young People’s Digital Group, who meet every quarter.


*The Local Government Association is the national membership body for local authorities. The LGA is the national membership body for local authorities that works with councils to promote, support and develop their services.

The LGA has so far awarded £200,000 through the Digital Inclusion programme, which will be shared across 10 councils. The aim of the Digital Inclusion Programme is to fund the use of digital tools within Local Authorities, in order for those Local Authorities to support more people and in a different way.

19 December 2019

Achieving for Children