Headlines: August 7th, 2008

From September 2008 councils will be able to identify the costs of providing access to services through their web, phone and face-to-face channels and identify potential savings from shifting customers to ‘self-service’ via the web. The Channel Value Benchmarking Service will be provided by the Society of IT Management.

The new service will enable councils to see whether their ‘costs-to-serve’ are in line with those experienced by other, similar, councils. They will also be able to assess whether active channel management, for example encouraging customers to ‘self-serve’ via the web, could save money.

The Channel Value Benchmarking Service will bring groups of councils to together to identify the cost of providing customer services through the different channels and it will identify costs associated with ‘avoidable contact’. It will also be possible to compare costs of providing access to services from different channels as well as identifying the scope for savings by individual councils from channel shift and reducing ‘avoidable contact’.

The launch of the new service is timed to coincide with the start of the ‘avoidable contact’ national indicator. This data will be collected from October and reported in April 2009. The indicator has been agreed between Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association and its aim is to reduce contact on minimum value calls such as chasing progress on service requests.