With councils across the UK coming to terms with spending cuts, IT and telephony is one area where they are looking to make cost savings. Boston Borough Council recently underwent a transformation of its telephony that not only saved the Council more than 40% on its previous system, but also led to improved customer service in several areas. The experiences of the Council are documented in a series of videos released by communication systems integrator, Foehn.
“Councils throughout the UK are under pressure to reduce their costs and yet their customers demand improvements in local public services,” says Rafael Cortes, Marketing Manager, Foehn. “The two appear to be at odds with each other, but advances in communications technology mean that local councils like Boston can make positive and tangible differences by switching to IP telephony. The videos that we’ve produced show exactly how this has been achieved.”
As well as illustrating how the procurement process worked through the public sector Digital Marketplace and G-Cloud, the videos feature the Council’s Strategic Director of Resources, Robert Barlow, and Strategic ICT Advisor, Matthew Clarke, talking about how the local authority has transformed its telephony from a static and basic set up to a far more flexible and feature rich one. This is in turn has enabled Boston Borough Council to improve how it serves local citizens.
The videos are:
Councils throughout the UK are under financial pressure, largely because of a 40% cut in funding from central government. Having already delivered £10 billion in savings in three years since 2011/12, local authorities have to find further savings and 2015/16 is set to be a period when many councils have to make very difficult choices about which services to prioritise.
The funding gap is one reason why councils like Boston are now exploring alternatives to their existing ICT infrastructures and methods of working, but historically ICT has always been under pressure as IT departments need to keep pace with ever-changing requirements and ever-developing new technologies. Modern ICT has made a difference to the type and level of services that councils provide and in many instances it has transformed the way they engage with local citizens and serve local communities.
“Old and outdated telephony systems are beginning to cost councils more than they should and do not provide the efficiency savings and flexibility of modern equivalents,” says Cortes. “As well as the direct cost of maintaining an old telephony system, other resources such as staff and management time are taken up unnecessarily. The videos show how Boston made comparisons with alternatives and concluded that a new IP telephony system was the way to go.”