Your Commissioner - Your Voice

Commissioner Zoë can ask questions on your behalf in her Online Public Meeting with the Chief Constable or Chief Fire Officer. Ask your question and find out more.

066/2013 – Improvement to the resolution of customer enquiries and contact at North Yorkshire Police’s (NYP’s) front counters. – 24 September 2013

Executive Summary and recommendation:

The brief for this work was to focus on a timely, cost effective route to improve customer contact and satisfaction, but also to explore the utilisation of software to improve customer facing interactions at front counters and, additionally, improve the one team ethos between front counter staff and Force Control Room (FCR) staff by having a joined up approach thus improving the customer journey.

Front counter staff currently have no way of recording customer contact and also have very little direct contact with the FCR to record customer contact, particularly when a person presents themselves at the front counter to report an incident. Contact is recorded manually and transferred to a computerised template which is emailed to the FCR inbox. This inbox is monitored within the FCR, and when FCR staff are busy, the template emails may not be looked at for hours at a time, delaying transfer of information to STORM if an incident needs to be created.

Interested parties met to discuss options available for utilising existing software to improve the recording of customer contact/reporting incidents at front counters and how this would link to work being carried out in the FCR.

In order to present a balanced view a further meeting was held with key individuals from FCR, Business Administration Services (BAS), FCR Systems Administration, Information Systems Directorate (ISD), Futures and Training. The viability of each option was assessed in turn, noting benefits, disadvantages, costs, risks and mitigation for each.

Recommendation:

It is recommended that Option 2 – Utilisation of Aspire be considered for approval with a phased roll out period.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision:

Approved

Signature Date 24 September 2013
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire
jm-signature

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

Introduction and background

The brief for this work was to focus on a timely, cost effective route to improve customer contact and satisfaction, but also to explore the utilisation of software to improve customer facing interactions at front counters and, additionally, improve the one team ethos between front counter staff and Force Control Room (FCR) staff by having a joined up approach thus improving the customer journey.

Front counter staff currently have no way of recording customer contact and also have very little direct contact with the FCR to record customer contact, particularly when a person presents themselves at the front counter to report an incident. In the majority of cases, the incident is recorded manually and transferred to a computerised template which is emailed to the FCR inbox. This inbox is monitored within the FCR, and when busy, the template emails may not be looked at for hours at a time, delaying transfer of information to STORM if an incident needs to be created. Urgent reports are relayed to the FCR via Airwave and are followed up with an incident recording template.

The knock on effect of this process is that the templates are sent to the FCR and until someone from the FCR responds to the customer query template, the individual reporting the information is required to wait. Front counter staff are therefore dealing with a number of complaints with regards to the customer queries and the time taken to resolve these.

Front counter staff also have to compete with 999 and 101 calls into the FCR when trying to chase up a query on behalf of a customer. Due to this calls are often left waiting and in many cases are abandoned, causing further customer dissatisfaction and complaints to front counter staff.

Many of the front counter setups do not currently allow for computers, therefore customer information is manually taken and transferred to the email template which is sent to the FCR. This often requires staff to step away from the front counter to input the information, which is a duplication of effort and prevents the assistance to other customers. Often the front counter staff deal with complaints from customers who believe they are being ignored whilst front counter staff are inputting information and then sending on to the FCR.

As there is currently no way of recording all customer contacts through the front counter, opportunities are being missed to record all customer interactions and develop a full picture of the customer’s journey within NYP. There is a significant opportunity to improve customer service and satisfaction by recording all interactions to support an informed response to future queries via either the front office or the FCR.

Matters for consideration

The FCR utilise Aspire software as a customer contact management system and for call monitoring. Currently the FCR are not utilising the Aspire software to its full potential and are therefore looking to maximise the use of this product.

Other options considered:

Option 1 – Do nothing

The do nothing option is not an acceptable route to take due to the impact on customers, the number of complaints received at the front counter and the problems the current templates create for front counter staff and staff within the FCR.

Option 2 – Utilisation of Aspire – Two Phase approach (Recommended)

Aspire software is a customer contact management system which is primarily utilised for call monitoring, however its capabilities stretch beyond this. Functionality can include the utilisation of the service requests function which will enable front counter staff to populate customer enquiry information and send to the FCR for timely action. By utilising Aspire, front counter staff will have the ability to review incidents logged on STORM via WebSTORM as a record of the STORM incident number will be linked within the Aspire contact details to refer to.

The number of benefits the implementation of this software will bring in both the short and long term, will provide improved customer contact and satisfaction of service at source and a better working relationship between front counter and FCR staff.

The immediate priority is to improve the service provided to customers and to reduce the number of complaints received at the front counters by improving NYPs ability to respond to customer requirements appropriately and in a timely manner.

It is intended to capture information regarding all face-to-face customer contacts and adapt our response according to the needs of the customer. This would allow front counter staff to provide a more responsive, informed service to our customers as staff will have sight of previous interactions with colleagues across the organisation.

There is the future potential to include contact with customers via the telephone. In order to utilise the full functionality of Aspire for telephone contact, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony will need to be available across the Force. This technology is not currently available, so this element of functionality will form a future implementation which will be closely linked to the ISD telephony strategy.

Current front counter accommodation will need to be assessed to ensure front counters can support the utilisation of computers to enable timely input of information and resolution of issues. There may be additional costs associated with the implementation of this proposal and so a contingency budget has been included in the proposal which would be utilised to cover infrastructure development costs.

Implementation will be phased and will be supported by the FCR and ISD. The phased approach will include:

Phase 1 – A proof of concept phase at two pilot sites (York and Scarborough) which will enable NYP to assess whether the proposal to utilise Aspire for contacts at the front counter, is viable for further implementation around the Force.

It is anticipated that once the Aspire software upgrade has been installed within the FCR, development of the service requests functionality within Aspire can be undertaken. Training will then be developed and rolled out to BAS staff which will be supported by the FCR.

Phase 2 – If Phase 1 is successful, develop process and business rules for the utilisation of Aspire and implement and embed Aspire for direct customer contacts at the front counters across all sites.

Option 3 – Utilise WebSTORM

WebSTORM is a software which is linked to the STORM incident management software, which could be developed to input information. Attached to the utilisation of this software are development costs and time, as the software is not currently configured for use in this way and is read only. Front counter staff would require STORM training which is intensive, time consuming and which is unlikely to be supported by BAS, due to the number of staff who would require the training and the fact that customer service would be significantly reduced during this period. The utilisation of this software could also lead to blurred lines of job responsibilities and pay and grading issues.

Option 4 – Utilise Sostenuto

Sostenuto is software which is currently utilised within the ISD for the management of incidents and service requests. Although the software is highly configurable, the development of the software for this function would be labour intensive and the software is not always reliable. Front counter staff have no experience of utilising this software, therefore the training required will need to be intensive.

Contribution to Police and Crime Plan outcomes

The recommended option would provide the following potential benefits linked to the Police and Crime Plan:

  • Put people first – by effectively dealing with/responding to customers requests whose preferred method is face to face contact at a police station
  • Deliver more for less – through fit for purpose facilities and efficient processes to improve the customer journey and increase satisfaction/confidence in the police
  • Ensure that we are ‘fit for the future’ – by responding efficiently and effectively through the use of modern technology

Consultations carried out

Consultation has taken place with representatives from the following business areas:

  • Response & Reassurance Directorate (Force Control Room)
  • Information Systems Department
  • Business Administration Services
  • Training Services
  • Property and Facilities

Financial Implications/Value for money

Full costs for Phases 1 and 2 are estimated at £60,588. It is anticipated that there could be some additional costs with regards to estates and IT due to possible changes required to accommodate computers at front counters, a contingency budget of 10% has been included to cover any potential infrastructure changes.

Description Unit Cost Number Required Estimated Cost
Additional Computers (incl. standard corporate licences) £1,300 4 £5,200
Upgraded Computers (memory only) £30 46 £1,380
Licences Individual £800 each + Service support per annum 50 £40,000
£6,000 p.a.
Training Costs* 2500 1 £2500
Sub Total £55,080
10% Contingency £5,508
Total £60,588

There will be a £2,500 cost to provide a ‘Fulfilment Administration’ Training course for six ISD engineers. This will enable our IS team to support the electronic forms module of Aspire (which allows front counters to create electronic incident reports and submit them to the FCR). Without this course APD (supplier) will not support this element of the software.

There are no other direct costs incurred as a result of the training for Aspire as training will be provided in-house. Training Services will develop the training package in conjunction with Organisational Support Development Officers (OSDOs) and this will take up to six weeks. The package will be delivered by OSDOs and it is expected it will take between ½ and one day to deliver to BAS staff.
Of the other options available there will be development costs and training implications which are more extensive than the recommended option.

The Head of Workforce Support Services has confirmed that the computers can be funded from within the ISD Rolling Replacement program (£6,580). The capital cost of the licences £40,000 (together with the Contingency if needed) could be funded from the Capital Systems replacement budget.
The £6,000 recurring revenue costs can be funded from savings identified in the Contract Supplies and services budget as a result of new contracts for Initial Medical and Iron Mountain. If agreed, these savings will be captured and then reallocated to this purpose.

The £2,500 one off funding be funded from the Supplies and Services budget and this has been earmarked accordingly.

Legal Implications

Having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, the Deputy Force Solicitor is satisfied that this report does not ask the PCC for North Yorkshire to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

Equality Implications

The implementation of customer contact software within front counters will support North Yorkshire Police’s commitment to providing accessible and appropriate policing services in support of both the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Front Counter staff will have access to improved information relating to our customers’ enquiries and so can be made aware of any additional requirements a customer may have to ensure the service we are providing is appropriate and meets the needs of the individual.

Public Access to Information

The Police and Crime Commissioner wishes to be as open and transparent as possible about the decisions he/she takes or are taken in his/her name. All decisions taken by the Commissioner will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

As a general principle, the Commissioner expects to be able to publish all decisions taken and all matters taken into account and all advice received when reaching the decision. Part 1 of this Notice will detail all information which the Commissioner will disclose into the public domain. The decision and information in Part 1 will be made available on the NYPCC web site within 2 working days of approval.

Only where material is properly classified as restricted under the GPMS or if that material falls within the description at 2(2) of The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011 will the Commissioner not disclose decisions and/or information provided to enable that decision to be made. In these instances, Part 2 of the Form will be used to detail those matters considered to be restricted. Information in Part 2 will not be published.

Is there a Part 2 to this Notice –NO

Tick to confirm statement √
Director/Chief Officer Joanna Carter has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities.
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge.
Financial Advice The CC CFO has both been consulted on this proposal, for which budgetary provision already exists or is to be made in accordance with Part 1 or Part 2 of this Notice
Equalities Advice An assessment has been made of the equality impact of this proposal. Either there is considered to be minimal impact or the impact is outlined in Part1 or Part2 of this Notice.
I confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and I am satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision Claire Askew 23 May 2013

We can confirm that all the above advice has been sought and received and we are satisfied that this is an appropriate request to be submitted for a decision

Kate Williams / Tracey Lee Date: 11th July 2013

Published on