A group of three Worcestershire-based local authorities have teamed up to share customer services in a deal which could save up to £2.6m.
Specialist systems and business process services provider Civica will be running customer contact centres, telephone and emails service on behalf of Worcestershire County Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Worcester City Council as part of the agreement.
These services were previously provided by the councils themselves via the Worcestershire Hub Shared Service (WHSS) which deals with around 23,000 direct calls, 4500 switchboard calls, 5000 online enquiries and 6000 visits in person each month.
All this contact for the three councils comes through two main offices in Worcester and Malvern and part-time services in Upton and Tenbury as well as a central call centre.
“WHSS provides a wide range of services to a large and diverse population,” claimed head of community services at Malvern Hills Council Ivor Pumfrey.
“The new partnership will ensure we deliver a quality service to customers through whichever way they choose to contact us and provide greater long-term resilience to sustain these key services,” Pumfrey added.
Civica aims to increase the use of online services by customers through the three authorities; websites and to target those most in need of face-to-face help.
The firm claims it will also introduce new processes and use IT to achieve savings and deliver services improvements.
“We have a strong track record in Worcestershire in delivering improved services while reducing the cost of providing them,” claimed Peter Bishop, strategic commissioner of service transformation at Worcestershire Council.
“By working with Civica we can ensure a continued and more efficient service to residents while securing major savings for the three partner councils,” he added.
As part of the deal, more than 50 staff have been transferred to Civica, which is also delivering revenues and benefits services successfully in South Worcestershire in a separate shared service agreement with Wychavon District Council, Worcester City Council and Malvern Hills District Council.
“People and their demands are changing. The partnership is designed to our specific needs in Worcestershire and in particular will improve services for benefits and council tax enquiries which are the areas of highest demand,” claimed Helen Frances, strategy and transformation service manager at Worcester City.