Councils to benefit from Scotland Excel’s customer service framework
Civica is one of four companies named to £15m framework offering beneficial rates for councils eyeing channel shift and end-to-end digital transformation
Scotland Excel, the centre of procurement expertise for local government north of the border has awarded places on a new framework intended to help Scotland’s councils buy quality ‘off the shelf’ packages to support customer services and digital transformation.
The framework, which will offer councils the means to purchase either a “hosted” or “on premise” solution is aimed at authorities that want to log, process and respond to customer requests; allow customers to ‘self-serve’ through an online portal; include effective reporting tools; or share information to cut duplication.
The framework is expected to be beneficial to those councils looking for ‘quick wins’ in terms of digital transformation, as well as those looking to ‘play a long game.’
Civica, which is helping several English council customers embrace digital transformation, notably East Riding of Yorkshire, South Kesteven District Council and Eastbourne, is one of four companies on the framework, which is estimated by Scotland Excel to be worth around £15m. The others listed are Firmstep, Kana Software Ireland and Netcall Telecom. The framework agreement applies for an initial three-year period with an option to extend for a further year.
Scotland Excel said the main users of the framework are likely to be customer service and IT managers as well as transformation and digital change leaders.
The councils are expected to benefit from favourable market rates through the framework, which also gives the opportunity to reduce costs for integrations and/or system developments by ensuring that, if these are paid for by one council using the framework, they are made available for all councils free of charge. This has been included within the terms and conditions of the framework and provides councils with the opportunity to share development costs as well as reduce the overall costs associated with integrations.
Scotland Excel said other benefits include rationalisation of and reduction in IT systems used within councils, reducing maintenance and service costs; improved interoperability with existing council systems; reduction in number of servers if Lot 1 (Hosted solutions) is used; reduction in rekeying between different systems leading to more efficient use of staff members’ time; improved knowledge sharing including sharing processes and forms across councils to ensure best practice is communicated across the local authority community. The framework will additionally support mobile application modules and social media modules to support the mobile working and channel shift agenda respectively; and discounting methodology to support the uptake of the framework by councils.
Julie Welsh, director of Scotland Excel said, “Scotland’s councils are becoming more and more customer-focused and have worked closely with us to shape this new framework. The new contract makes sure councils can easily source user-friendly, high quality software applications that let the public interact with them, and which allows the local authority to efficiently and effectively deal with requests from all sources. This is all about best value, high quality and innovative software, and the choice for each council to consider the best solution for their requirements.”
Civica has argued that to fully respond to the digital agenda, local authorities must go beyond simple channel shift and deliver a so-called “Digital360”multi-channel customer service solution, offering digital transformation that delivers tangible savings, increased efficiencies and improved customer satisfaction.
Chris Ginnelly, managing director of Civica Digital Solutions said: “We recently met with Scottish local government leaders to discuss the challenges they face in delivering a future-proofed digital strategy. The Scotland Excel framework will support the public sector in Scotland in responding to these challenges through collaboration and improved procurement practices. We’re delighted Civica has been awarded a place on the framework as it recognises our capabilities and experience as a leading provider of digital solutions - helping almost two thirds of Scottish local authorities transform service delivery for the citizens of today and tomorrow.”