North Somerset Council delivering record levels of customer service, annual report shows

North Somerset Council has been named one of the top ten councils across the country for customer satisfaction.

The news was announced in the recently published annual report on the partnership between the council, Agilisys and partnering service provider Liberata.

Over the last year, North Somerset Council has developed its usage of GovMetrics, which allows customers to rate their experiences when accessing local services. The council achieved performance scores of 95% for telephone-based services, and 90% for face-to-face thanks to the partnership-led project to improve customer experience at the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare.

Time taken to process benefit claims also reduced by 15% from over 20 days to an average of 17 days, which places North Somerset in the upper quartile of the national council league tables.

The report also revealed that more than £800,000 additional revenue has been collected through an innovative council tax and business rates service, which will help squeezed budgets across all council services.


Online service improvement

The last year has also seen the council continue in its commitment to meeting the needs of its residents, with a series of improvements to access local online services. The partnership delivered the council’s new public-facing website in February 2016, revealing a modern, mobile-friendly platform with web chat functionality and information pop-ups.

The coming months will see the expansion of online services to complement those already live for council tax and housing benefits, using Agilisys Digital a self-service platform, which provides local residents with easy online access to a range of vital services all in one place, and can be used across multiple devices, 24/7.


Partnership approach

Based in Weston-super-Mare and Clevedon, Agilisys – along with Liberata – has been working in partnership with North Somerset Council since October 2010, with the focus being on enhancing local residents’ access to council services and complementing the council’s regeneration programme.

In the last five years, Agilisys has also demonstrated its commitment to supporting economic growth in the area, bringing 285 new jobs to North Somerset and over 50 apprenticeships for young people.

Agilisys has also recently launched a digital apprenticeship scheme in the South West, which will see the numbers of apprenticeships increase to almost 100 in the next ten years.

Mike Jackson, North Somerset Council chief executive, said: “For more than five years Agilisys, as our strategic partner, has worked alongside us driving new models of delivery and providing innovative and technical expertise.

“The last year has not been without its challenges but customer facing services have performed well in excess of expectations, with direct benefit to the council in terms of revenue collection, and to our residents with regard to the speed and quality of benefit assessments, and notable improvements made in customer service. This is no mean achievement in the context of economic pressures, legislative changes and constrained resources.

“Agilisys has also performed well-above its commitment in terms of the numbers of local jobs that have been created since the partnership began, supporting the council’s own priority for economic growth and employment.”

Ailsa Gerrard, Agilisys regional director added: “We are delighted when we look back on what has been achieved over the last 12 months in partnership with North Somerset Council and Liberata. Together, we have transformed services that make a difference to thousands of residents throughout the region. We have worked hard to leverage new and existing technologies and employed business transformation processes to enable the council to improve service delivery, rationalise customer interaction with the council and realise major budget savings.”

Vijay Chandiramani, Liberata COO for Local Government commented: “It has been a great pleasure to be a part of this journey with North Somerset Council and Agilisys. Our focus on delivering continuous service excellence to the residents of North Somerset has made a positive impact to their lives against the back-drop of a challenging economic environment, with many local stakeholders such as citizens, schools, landlords and businesses who have directly benefited from the range of services we have provided within this partnership.”

Last year, North Somerset Council confirmed an extension to the partnership, which sees Agilisys, together with partnering service provider Liberata, delivering services until September 2025.

More information about the partnership between North Somerset Council and Agilisys be found in the 2015/16 annual report.

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