Headlines: March 27th, 2001

Liverpool City Council and BT have set up a company to deliver a wide range of council services. The new company Citizen First, in which the City Council will have a 19.9% stake, will provide the first point of caller contact through an expanded call centre as well as through, mail, internet, fax, e-mail, interactive TV or kiosks. Later the company will take on revenue collection, benefit payments, payroll and human resource management. The contract is worth 300 million pounds over ten years.Some 1200 council staff will move to the new company on long term secondment, but remain employees of the City Council. They will benefit from new skills training, personal development and better environments in which to work. There have been extensive consultations with the trades unions.

The company will spend some 30 million pounds in the next two years installing new hardware and software. This will include ORACLE’s Customer Relationship Management system. Thesystem will allow all customer dealing with the council to be brought together, so that staff receiving enquires will have a complete picture including previous enquiries, revenue and benefit payments or planning applications. The system will allow the council to market its services such as libraries or leisure facilities.

The partnership brings together the strengths of the council and of BT and gives each party benefits that other models could not deliver. The council will benefit from the investment funding and technical expertise provided by BT, but retain a voice in the strategic direction of the comapny. The new technology will replace disparate and ageing systems over a short period and sweep away the silo approach of different departments of the council. BT will gain a flagship installation for marketing their technology and expertise to other councils in the UK and abroad. Both partners will share in the potential for generating new business by providing services such as call centre facilities, to other councils and by offering a marketing service to the private secto