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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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United in pursuit of best value
United in pursuit of best value
Achieving "best value" is a key driver for government when delivering services to the citizen as part of the "modernisation" programme which also includes the 2005 deadline for the delivery of e-government – 24 x 7 services to the citizen that are faster, more convenient and more personalised.
Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, according to official auditors, one-fifth of councils are still focusing on developing strategies rather than on implementing projects. Those who are "well on the way" often achieve progress with the help of commercial partners. One such partner is Remedy, which already has deep expertise and experience in this space, with more than 100 such customers across EMEA, and several hundred globally benefiting from implementing its technology.
"Remedy's e-government solutions have been designed to resolve both the internal and external technology and business issues authorities are having to address, with Remedy Citizen Response at the core of that strategy", says Graeme McKenzie, solutions marketing director, EMEA-Remedy.
Born out of Remedy's global experience in customer support, Remedy Citizen Response is a comprehensive, flexible and adaptable solution that can be implemented quickly to accommodate rapid growth and shifting citizen demands, automating service processes across government departments and providing closed-loop resolution of customer queries and issues.
One authority employing Citizen Response to transform the e-government landscape is the London Borough of Sutton. Providing services to 180,000-plus community members, Sutton is expanding its use of Citizen Response right across the organisation to deliver a fully citizen-centric approach.
Prior to Citizen Response, Sutton had no means of verifying the status of outstanding issues or viewing a complete history of customer interaction. Furthermore, there was no back-office integration.
With Remedy Citizen Response, the council can now respond and track a vast range of issues, suggestions and requests for information service, whether they are submitted by telephone, in person, letter, e-mail or the Web – to deliver outstanding service and best value at a low cost to the taxpayer.
Remedy's solutions are enabling Sutton to meet the myriad demands of "joined-up government", integrating existing data sources right across the authority, so information can be shared and departments encouraged to work closely together. It has also freed up service-managers' time, which was previously spent responding to customers' needs, to organise resources to deliver the service.
Now the London Borough of Sutton is planning to utilise Remedy's technology to build on its success, with council tax, housing benefit and anti-fraud claims the next key focus on the path to e-government excellence. Meanwhile, Remedy's solutions are being used across a whole range of local authorities to help them meet their e-government targets. Within this context, best value has become a primary goal.
In practical terms, it means:
value for taxpayer money;
maximising the capability of the service; and
continuously monitoring the performance of the government body or supplier in delivering that service.
As far as investment goes, this signifies getting the optimum return from the technology solutions you already have. Where the need for improvement is identified, any new investment to achieve this must bring with it associated best value gains.
There is a further deep challenge for government – the ability to deliver business continuity as an on-going, rather than project-based, process. Government needs to be always open for business, with services available to the public 24 x 7. Crucially, a government IT department will have tightly defined service level agreements for which they are accountable, both to the government body within which they operate, as well as to the public to whom they provide services.
At the extreme edge, government must be prepared to deal with crisis situations, such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Through Remedy process automation techniques, the plans and processes which are documented within government to deal with such a crisis can be delivered and automated through technology, making the government department more able to react, control and recover from the threat.
With more than 7,000 customers globally and more than 10 million users at over 12,000 sites, Remedy's solutions are reaching right across government, helping it to achieve its many goals (see www.remedy.com).