Following an internal 'best value' review, Bolton Council has agreed a £10m, 10-year deal with Fujitsu Consulting to help the council better manage its relationships with citizens.
Fujitsu is to build, manage and support an implementation of Oracle's 11i eBusiness Suite after the review identified room for improvement in the council's customer service.
The implementation, which Fujitsu said is its biggest Oracle roll-out in the local government sector, will also help Bolton to meet the deadline for putting local and national government services online.
Tracy Fielding, assistant director of finance at the council, said that it had to learn to deal more efficiently with customers.
"We could learn a lot from the private sector in this respect," she said.
The council's legacy systems will be replaced with human resources, payroll and purchasing automation. Customer relationship management (CRM) software will be used to link back-office systems with call centre staff.
Fielding explained that integrating the front-end CRM system with the back office meant that queries can be dealt with as the call is answered.
"This allows us to cut costs, but the biggest benefit is the improvement of services to citizens," she said.
Garth Morton, business development manager at Fujitsu Consulting, claimed that the integration meant that many inquiries could be handled without further consultation.
"When the calls come in the person in the council's call centre will have direct access to information via a PC. They will be able to handle about 80 per cent of inquiries immediately," he said.
The new system will be linked to frontline information and service delivery offering citizens direct communication.
Councillor Bob Howarth, leader of Bolton Council, said that the need to renew corporate IT equipment had been used as a "springboard" to integrate a more "citizen focused" system.
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