Archives for December 6th, 2004

CUSTOMERS HIT BACK AT MOVE TO CALL CENTRES

Headlines, PublicNet: 6 December, 2004

As more public bodies set up call centres to improve efficiency, customers are voicing their concern about the length of time it takes to get through to someone who is able to talk about their problem. A third of respondents won’t wait longer than a minute for a response. Part of the concern is that public sector services can’t use freephone numbers, so customers are always paying for any hold times.A survey by Telewest Business investigated the public’s attitude to call centre service levels across financial services, public sector services, leisure and utility industries. The survey revealed that public sector services have the least public confidence in handling their call most effectively with only 11% prepared to wait for their calls to be answered, compared to 48% willing to wait to speak to financial services companies.

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JOINING UP TO GET SMARTER AT PROCUREMENT

Headlines, PublicNet: 6 December, 2004

Local councils and housing associations across the south west region of the UK have joined up to share information about companies who supply their goods and services. Making sure that suppliers have a track record of quality and delivery and are financially viable is a crucial part of procurement. In a move to cut in-house costs and reduce risks in procurement the group have set up a partnership with Exor Management Services to provide a supplier Accreditation Scheme.The suppliers of each member of the partnership are being vetted by Exor to establish their track record, examine company accounts, check that they have insurance – in areas such as construction, and ensure they comply with health and safety requirements. Up to 130 checks are required in the most complex cases. A database is being set up with the results of the vetting which Exor will continually update. Members of the partnership have access to the database.

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REDUCING CRIME AND BUREAUCRACY

Book News, PublicNet: 6 December, 2004

This report from the National Audit Office looks at the relationship between the Home Office and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships. It notes that many of the crime reduction projects funded by the Home Office, such as initiatives focused on potential and known offenders, have been innovative and successful in reducing crime. But it expresses concern about excessive bureaucracy. Resources have too often been tied up dealing with administration of different grant conditions imposed by the Home Office and other Departments. Smaller Partnerships spent a higher proportion of their grant monies on staff costs. Improvements depend on the Home Office encouraging neighbouring partnerships to communicate and collaborate more and by simplifying grant procedures to reduce the administrative burden.In a move to reduce bureaucracy pilot delivery agreements have been set up with two councils in which a range of separate grants have been pooled and a greatly simplified performance management system introduced. Two further initiatives to reduce bureaucracy will be launched in 2005-06. The Home Office also plans to merge a number of separate streams of funding with funding streams from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to create a single Safer and Stronger Communities Fund.

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