Birmingham to improve customer services and deliver ICT-related saving

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A package of measures is expected to provide improved customer services and savings in excess of £150m over a seven-year period, enabling the council to deliver the ICT-related budgeted savings targets included in the council’s financial plans, Birmingham City Council has said.

An urgent report will go to Cabinet on Monday 30 June 2014 to conclude the review of the Service Birmingham contract. Cabinet will be recommended to approve the continuation of the ICT and Revenue contracts in return for substantial savings over the remaining seven years of the contract.

Cabinet will also be asked to approve bringing the council’s contact centre in-house by the end of the year.

Under the council’s control, the centre will focus on a ‘One Contact’ vision through which there will be an emphasis on the ‘end-to-end’ service, integrating back-office operations with customer-facing ones. This will ensure as many queries as possible are resolved at the first point of contact with the local authority.

There will also be agreement to introduce new controls over projects, a joint commitment to create a modern, fit for purpose ICT strategy and most importantly, to agree to identify further savings beyond the £150m figure.

Birmingham City Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “We have negotiated an agreement with Service Birmingham which provides a major step forward in reducing our cost base for ICT.  On balance, the council considers the risk of changing ICT provider at this time, too risky, would take a considerable period of time to procure and would cost additional tens of millions upfront in early termination charges and re-procurement costs.”

“However, we are convinced that by bringing the contact centre in-house we can deliver additional financial savings, but more importantly place customer service at the core of what the council is about.  We will be able to work more effectively with front line services to improve customer interaction.”

“We need to make sure we have an ICT strategy that is fit for purpose and that we improve our control and planning for projects.” 

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