IT services company takes over the service centre for Worcestershire, Worcester and Malvern Hills
Three local authorities in Worcestershire have signed up Civica to take over their shared service centre and run their customer services for the next eight and a half years.
Worcestershire County Council, Worcester City Council and Malvern Hills District Council have reached an agreement with the IT services and business process outsourcing firm to run their Worcestershire Hub Shared Service.
More than 50 staff have been transferred to Civica as part of the agreement, preserving all of the existing jobs.
The deal is valued at £13 million and involves guaranteed savings for the councils of £2.6 million in savings over the contract's lifetime, based on their projections of the costs if they had continued to run the service.
According to reports in the Worcester Post, the proposal stirred up some controversy with last year, with some councillors fearing job losses while others complained about the quality of service from the Hub, claiming that residents often had long waits in making contact and that it missed performance targets.
Long term outlook
Peter Bishop, strategic commissioner for the county council, told UKAuthority that the overall satisfaction ratings had been positive, but that the councils thought Civica would be better placed to deal with demands over the next three to five years.
"With the growth in digital access and internet usage, and us encouraging self-service, it got to the point where the existing shared service would struggle to survive with the competing demands of 24/7 access and the very strong need to save money over time," he said. "It got to the point where it was not sustainable.
"Because Civica is a commercial business that wants to grow the service, we felt it could manage the complexity of the channel shift while delivering savings, and grow the business with other customers."
There are plans for the company to offer the services to other authorities in the area.
It will continue to use the existing technology used by the three councils in the short term, but Bishop said it could well adopt new systems in the future.
The Worcestershire Hub deals with about 23,000 direct calls, 4,500 switchboard calls, 5,000 online enquires and 6,000 visits in person each month for the three councils through two main offices in Worcester and Malvern, part-time services in Upton and Tenbury and a central call centre.
The telephone contact operations will be moved to Civica's service centre in Pershore, where it already provides a revenues and benefits operation for the city council, Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Council, and a centre for outsourced services in Pershore.
Pictured: Looking down on Worcester from Fort Royal Hill, by Philip Halling. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.