News : Birmingham Council to Take in 500 Call Centre Staff
June 25, 2014 -- Council bosses are to bring 500 call centre staff in-house as part of moves to save money.
The proposal is contained in a plan to slash the cost of the city council’s Service Birmingham arrangement.
Service Birmingham, a joint venture between the authority and outsourcing company Capita, runs the council’s call centre and other functions.
But the arrangement, which cost the council money between 2006 and 2012, has been condemned for offering taxpayers poor value for money.
A raft of money-saving measures were announced by the authority yesterday – including transferring the call centre staff from Service Birmingham to the council’s control.
Deputy council leader Coun Ian Ward said the changes would bring major savings and a greater degree of control over the authority’s communications.
"We have negotiated an agreement with Service Birmingham which provides a major step forward in reducing our cost base for ICT," he said.
"On balance, the council considers the risk of changing ICT provider at this time too risky.
"It would take a considerable period of time to procure and would cost an additional tens of millions up front in early termination charges and re-procurement costs.
"We are convinced that, by bringing the contact centre in-house, we can deliver additional financial savings, but more importantly place customer service at the core of what the council is about.
"We will be able to work more effectively with front-line services to improve customer interaction."
The council will bring the call centre in-house by the end of the year, as part of a "One Contact" vision promising to resolve queries at the first opportunity.
It said it had agreed to maintain its current Service Birmingham contracts in return for "substantial" savings over the remaining seven years of the contract.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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