UK City of Culture 2017 oversees 90 staff transferring under TUPE as part of communications contract
Kingston upon Hull City Council has extended its partnership with outsourcer Civica by signing a five-year BPO contract to take on contact centre services at the council, ahead of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017.
Hull City Council currently receives an average of 70,000 calls each month, which will potentially sky-rocket next year as a result of City of Culture status.
Civica will provide the underlying telephony infrastructure and support the authority in its “strategic digital and communication transformation” to ensure citizens receive the high level of service they require and to encourage online self-service. The contract, which was awarded following a competitive procurement process, will see around 90 employees join Civica via TUPE transfer.
The council’s contact centre handles approximately 70 percent of all enquiries for a wide range of services, including council tax, housing benefits, highways and waste management. It also deals with ticket sales and enquiries for the council’s cultural arms-length company, Hull Culture and Leisure, which hosts events around the city.
The new service, which will begin on 1 December 2016, will continue to be delivered from Hull and will be available 24/7, including an emergency out-of-hours service for core council services.
Helena Spencer, councillor at Hull City Council, said: “As UK City of Culture 2017, we want to ensure that we’re not only giving new visitors a warm and helpful welcome, but also providing our residents with the high quality, convenient services they require through the channel of their choice.
“We’re confident that our partnership with Civica will allow us to deliver exactly that, and the contact centre programme will make a significant contribution to achieving our aspirations for improved customer experience and encouraging them to get online.”
Civica is already delivering outsourced revenues and benefits services, debt recovery and financial assessments for Hull City Council, following a seven-year agreement designed to “drive service performance” and “save the council £5 million”. As part of this deal, 230 employees transferred to Civica in 2015.
Gary Bell, executive director for outsourcing at Civica, said: “Local authorities are thinking more creatively about how to respond to increasing demand and expectation during a time of significant financial constraints. Hull’s initiative as the UK City of Culture in 2017 and the development of its commercial arm is a best-practice example of that.”