The equipment behind Angus Council’s ACCESS Line is no longer fit for purpose and requires an immediate upgrade councillors have been told.
In a report to the authority’s Policy and Resources Committee, elected members were informed that the current contact centre system was purchased by the Council in 2007 to work in conjunction with the council’s current telephony equipment.
However, the system has not been updated since it was first purchased, and is no longer supported by the supplier.
The report also warned that failure to upgrade the current system exposes a significant business continuity risk to the council and could lead to a greatly reduced service to the council’s customers.
The authority is also in the process of implementing a new corporate telephony system, and the new contact centre system will work in tandem with the new telephony infrastructure.
The equipment, estimated to cost £60,000 initially, with annual costs of £12,000, includes a project manager, training and support.
The new contact centre system, supplied by Capita, will allow the council to channel all telephone calls through the one contact centre rather than the current approach which sees ‘pockets’ within individual services.
The upgrade will also allow home working for contact centre staff, which will build resilience into the system in the event of an emergency incident.
Owing to the very short timescales to implement the new system, the contract has already been awarded by the Strategic Director responsible.
Speaking after meeting to discuss the issue, SNP Montrose and District Councillor Bill Duff said: “I have spent some time with the staff using the old system, and I am extremely impressed at how knowledgeable they are, and how efficiently they direct queries to the appropriate person or department.
“However, there is no question that the system itself needed replaced, as it simply was not up to the task.
“This is why the investment is necessary, as it is absolutely vital that people are able to contact the council to raise queries or issues.
“This procurement means that we will have a system that is fit for the 21st century.”