Customer First wins national award

By on 24/11/2010 in News

Ambitious plans drawn up by Birmingham City Council to transform the delivery of customer services have won a prestigious national award.

Customer First was named as winner in the ‘Innovation and Progress – Customer Service’ category in the Guardian Public Service Awards during a ceremony staged in London last night (November 23).

The Customer First programme is one of nine workstreams being delivered by the council in partnership with Service Birmingham as part of the authority’s Business Transformation project, which will modernise services and save £1billion in the ten years to 2016.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: It's great news - these are very prestigious awards.

“It's a special tribute to all the staff that have made the positive change in service delivery happen, because I know how hard they work in our Neighbourhood Offices and Customer Service Centres to answer queries and help in the best way they can.

“The whole system is changing and we've got to move with the times.

“We launched our changes earlier this year and more than half of all enquiries are now dealt with at the first point of contact.

“Many people really want to use IT to connect with the city council in the same way they use many other websites. What we have introduced enables us to have a far quicker response to their queries, many of which are simple to deal with. People can open their own customer accounts with us, which they were not able to do before.

“The old system was made for people who are time rich, who didn't mind queuing up at offices.

“The new system is far slicker, makes far more use of our employees' skills, whether it is face-to-face contact or using IT technology, and answers queries in a far more responsive way.”

Welcoming the news, Service Birmingham Chief Executive Stewart Wren said:

“We're absolutely delighted to have played a part in helping the city council transform the way it offers the people of Birmingham the chance to access public services.

“Everyone involved with this programme is justifiably proud of what has been achieved. These types of awards recognise actual achievement and the field is highly competitive.

“It is doubly satisfying given the impact will be felt most by the people of Birmingham who are now able to access key public services in a way that suits them best.”

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