Middlesbrough joins councils' CRM club

Middlesbrough Borough Council has joined the growing list of councils putting their faith in customer relationship management...

Middlesbrough Borough Council has joined the growing list of councils putting their faith in customer relationship management (CRM) by signing a £4.3m deal with public sector service specialist Hyder Business Services (HBS).

The Siebel CRM package, which is part of a 10-year, £260m public private partnership deal, will eventually consolidate information from more than 100 databases and IT systems.

Joe McCarthy, head of strategic partnering at the council, said, "Within three years people will be able to go into a library and access any council services."

The first services to be delivered through the programme will be housing benefit and council tax, he said. Specialist consultancy Extraprise is also working with the council and HBS to implement the scheme.

CRM is fast becoming a popular choice for local authorities responsible for delivering Labour's ambitious e-government agenda.

McCarthy said, "It will play a substantial part in helping us to meet the 2005 e-government deadline."

The technology will enable Middlesbrough to provide extensive customer service at the initial point of contact with users, he added.

Kingston upon Hull City Council recently announced an extension to its CRM strategy, which was unveiled last year and is designed to consolidate all council departments' data on to one Oracle database and CRM system.

Using a customer care software package jointly designed with Oracle, the council now offers residents direct access to a range of services simply by calling a single phone number.

In July Liverpool City Council also signed a major CRM deal with the software giant, a partnership which has already been identified as a potential model for local authorities hoping to meet the Government's 2005 goal for providing all services online. The £6m package will consolidate information from more than 500 databases and 220 IT systems on to one single database.

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