IT integration is the key to public safety phone plan

A project to create a single non-emergency telephone number for accessing public safety services has prompted a spate of systems integration in local government.

A project to create a single non-emergency telephone number for accessing public safety services has prompted a spate of systems integration in local government.

Councils and police forces in the five pilot areas for the 101 service - Hampshire, Leicestershire, Northumberland, South Wales and South Yorkshire - are integrating their systems with those of the 101 service, which is designed to ease demand on the 999 service.

The Northumbria Partnership, which began its 101 pilot in July, includes five local authorities in Tyne & Wear, six in Northumberland, one in County Durham and Northumbria Police. It is due to complete the first link between the 101 system and a local authority system this month.

Northumbria Partnership's 101 call centre application was developed by software house Iizuka. The systems integrator is Sopra Newell & Budge. Staff use the software to allocate service requests to the relevant department and to give members of the public timescales for the work to be completed. The system is also being integrated into police systems.

Peter Coates, the partnership's operations manager, said, "Once we have finished the police's command and control system, the data interface at the 101 end is complete."

Most of the local authorities use customer relationship management systems to handle queries about their services. The project will initially integrate the Lagan CRM systems used by Gateshead, Newcastle and some district councils. Integration with Sunderland City Council's SAP system will follow.

The public can initially only use the 101 service to report a limited number of problems: vandalism, noisy neighbours, intimidation, abandoned vehicles, littering, drunken behaviour, drug abuse and street lighting failures.

The Northumbria Partnership, which received £4.2m in Home Office funding, plans to develop the service to include online self-service reporting, progress updates for users, and a geographical information system to more accurately target problems.

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