Gateshead Council implements single customer database to simplify services

CRM application enables same standard of service across all channels

Gateshead Council has implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) application to enable a single view of all a citizen's dealings with the council across all front-line services.

This will mean members of the public receive the same level of service whether they phone the council's contact centre, visit one of its three customer service centres or use one of its on-street kiosks, the council said. Some 50 kiosks have been set up across the Tyne and Wear area, which also includes Newcastle and Sunderland city councils.

The implementation is part of the Gateshead at Your Service project, which the council's corporate ICT manager, Roy Sheehan, said was in the "top five in terms of priorities" at Gateshead.

Work on Gateshead at Your Service began 18 months ago. The IT department re-engineered 30 business processes in the second half of 2004.

 Sheehan said, "We thought it was important to have the buy-in across the council."
All of 2005 was spent procuring and then implementing the CRM application.

Gateshead Council will set up Frontline 6.0 from supplier Lagan to handle customer queries about Streetscene - the local government initiative to improve the local environment - by the end of March. Other services will go live with the application later in the year.

When Streetscene goes live in March, it will be integrated with Gateshead Council's contact centre system - Siemens Procenter - and the systems that manage Streetscene services.

 Caps Solutions supplies the council's Uniform Gazetteer Management System, the application that acts as a database for all the properties in Gateshead.

The highways and streets department's system, MapInfo's Confirm application, is being integrated with Frontline. Confirm manages the department's business processes.

An online payments system supplied by Capita has been integrated with the CRM application so that the council can charge customers for services.

Members of the public will be able to track the progress of both their queries and transactions through an online portal.

Gateshead Council is currently deciding which service will next go live with Frontline. According to Sheehan, the IT department expects that all front-line services will be managed through the CRM application where possible.

The council's attention has turned to its business applications after it spent several years overhauling its IT infrastructure.

Sheehan said, "We have been through a process of implementing a whole range of back-office systems. The Lagan system has been purchased to integrate with those back-office systems."

Frontline replaces a query tracking system that was developed in-house by the council.

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