Headlines: April 18th, 2008

Birmingham City Council believes it is on course to having the best customer services of any local authority in the country. The council says dramatic improvements have taken a big step forward after members of its Cabinet Procurement Sub Committee considered the full business case for its package Customer First plan.

Customer First is one of nine programmes in an ambitious Business Transformation programme. The council’s deputy leader, Paul Tilsley, whose portfolio includes Business Transformation, said, “We are now on track to have the most advanced customer services of any council in the UK.”

Under the proposals local people would benefit from simpler and easier ways to access services including a single telephone number at normal rates to contact all services. There will also be a new personalised council website and a network of service points across
the city. There will also be new face-to-face customer service centres and existing Neighbourhood Offices will be refurbished. The council is also aiming for ‘first time resolution’ for the majority of issues raised by people who contact it and improved systems for tracking the progress of people’s requests.

Councillor Tilsley said Birmingham prided itself on being an efficient, global city with a local heart. The changes would mean, for example that the days when citizens needed to decide which of 450 published city council numbers they needed to use would soon be over. “The Customer First programme will transform services within the next four years, generating a step change improvement in the services the council provides to its citizens, tourists, businesses and partner organisations, helping turn into reality our vision of cutting-edge customer service,” he added.