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093/2013: Improving Customer Access – Aspire Customer Contact Software in Front Counters Pilot Evaluation Report – 17 March 2014

Executive Summary and recommendation:

On the 24th September 2013 the Executive Board granted approval to extend the use of the existing customer contact database, Aspire, currently utilised in the Force Control Room (FCR), by conducting a trial in the Front Counter arena.

The main aim of the trial was to support front counter staff in providing an improved customer service when a person presents themselves at a Police Station front counter. By providing the front counter staff with an appropriate mechanism for capturing / recording customer contact details and requests for service it makes it possible for the organisation to provide a tailored, co-ordinated response to customer enquiries; working closely with colleagues within the FCR and Uniformed Operations.

Police and Crime Commissioner decision:

The purpose of this report is to provide the Executive Board with an update on the outcome of the trial and, due to the success of the trial, to recommend full implementation within the timescales indicated at Appendix A and seek approval to proceed to spend the budget already allocated to this change project and detailed within section 6.

Signature Date 17 March 2014
Title Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

Part 1 – Unrestricted facts and advice to the PCC

  1. Introduction and background
    On the 24th September 2013 the Executive Board granted approval to extend the use of the existing customer contact database, Aspire, currently utilised in the Force Control Room (FCR), by conducting a trial in the Front Counter arena.

    The main aim of the trial was to support front counter staff in providing an improved customer service when a person presents themselves at a Police Station front counter. By providing the front counter staff with an appropriate mechanism for capturing / recording customer contact details and requests for service it makes it possible for the organisation to provide a tailored, co-ordinated response to customer enquiries; working closely with colleagues within the FCR and Uniformed Operations.

    The purpose of this report is to provide the Executive Board with an evaluation of the pilot and to make a recommendation with regards to the appropriateness of full roll out of the Aspire customer contact software through our Front Counters.

  2. Matters for consideration
    1. Evaluation Report Methodology
      • Pilot undertaken at York and Scarborough Police Station Front Counters
      • Pilot took place during the period of the 11th November 2013 through to the 19th January 2014 (10 weeks)
      • Approximately 25 Organisational Support Officers (including two supervisors) participated in the trial
      • Quantitative and qualitative data captured by the FCR, Information Systems Department (ISD) and Business Administration Services (BAS)
      • Data capture was recorded at two points during the trial: 11 November 2013 – 4 December 2014 and 11
      • November 2013 – 19 January 2014
    2. Findings
      Contacts Created
      The figures below indicate the number of contacts created during both data capture periods. Whilst Aspire is utilised within the FCR to capture calls for service, the front counter staff are contributing to building up the customer contact database by capturing / recording face to face contacts with members of the public. The implementation of the software is also supporting an increasingly accurate understanding of the footfall NYP receive through provision of the front counter service. The potential to further expand our use of Aspire and record all customer contacts and improve our response to customer enquiries is very encouraging.

      Figure 1 shows the number of contacts created station by station. The number of contacts created by the front counter staff at both the York and Scarborough sites is very similar.

      Figure one:


      As can be demonstrated in Figure 2, the number of contacts created during the second data capture period identifies a significant increase in the number of contacts created which could be a result of the participants gaining more confidence and experience in using the new software. Again, this shows the numbers between the two stations are comparable.

      Figure two:


      Data Quality
      Compared to the overall number of contacts created, issues with data quality were minimal (1%). Where data quality issues were highlighted throughout the trial period these were addressed with the appropriate staff and easily rectified.

      Table One:


      Total number of contacts

      Data Quality Issues

      11/11/13 – 04/12/13 05/12/13 – 19/01/14
      York 421 Nil 3
      Scarborough 419 10 10

      Service Requests
      Whilst the front counter staff are contributing significantly to building up customer profiles within the Aspire database in terms of service requests, they also deal with members of the public wishing to report an incident. This is completed by creating a service request within Aspire which is auto-populated by data from the customer contact record and populated with incident details. There is a check box on the form to indicate where a customer is waiting in the front office for an officer to attend.

      The service request is then forwarded to the FCR via email directly to the CROM inbox. On receipt of the template email a STORM record is created by FCR staff. This will allow the front counter staff to view the STORM incident number in Aspire. Front counter staff then use Webstorm to view the log and update the customer.

      The figures in Table 2 indicate comparable numbers in relation to service requests created and again the difference between the two reporting periods shows a trend of significant increase between the two data capture periods for both stations.

      Table Two:


      Total number of service requests


      Service Requests

      11/11/13 – 04/12/13

      05/12/13 – 19/01/14

      York 129 49 80
      Scarborough 161 43 118

      Service Level Agreement
      For the purpose of the pilot a Service Level of Agreement (SLA) was created between the FCR and Business Admin Services whereby the agreement was for FCR to create a STORM log within 15 minutes of receipt of the service request into the CROM inbox. In general this agreement is working well and the front counter staff are now receiving an improved service from the FCR. However, the data collection from the FCR and ISD collectively identified issues with the following

      • SLA times not being met
      • Technical issues impacting on achievement of SLA as no out of hours technical support provided
      • Data quality of the service requests / issues

      Throughout the course of the pilot the overall achievement rate for the 15min SLA target was 58% (167 out of 290 requests for service), 20% of calls were dealt with within 30 mins and the remaining 22% of calls were dealt with in excess of 30 mins.

      The issues and SLA times have been discussed with key stakeholders and agreement has been reached with measures put in place for improvements to be made. It is recommended that, if full roll out is approved, ISD provide full out of hours technical support to Aspire in order to resolve some of the technical issues that impact on the continued use of Aspire and therefore on our response to our customers.
      It should also be noted that for the purposes of the pilot the 15min SLA applied to FCR response times for all incidents reported through our pilot site front counters regardless of whether or not the customer was waiting within the front counter or had requested an appointment or contact at a later date. The pilot evaluation has led us to review the provision of a 15min SLA for all service requests taken within the front counter environment and a recommendation will be put forward to limit the 15min SLA target to those customers waiting within the front counter environment for a response. A tailored customer-led service level agreement will be identified for those customers requesting a response either at a later date or via an appointment.

      Throughout the period of the pilot a number of technical issues have been encountered and addressed. On four occasions technical issues led to system downtime for an extended period and clearly impacted on achievement of the 15min SLA during that time. A fallback system whereby the front counter teams reverted to submitting paper templates for service requests was in place during these outages however the delayed response times to the e-templates submitted has impacted on the overall SLA response times during the pilot.

      There is additional work to be done in developing a real-time performance dashboard which provides ready access to statistical analysis regarding customer enquiries and response times. Moving forward data capture will be addressed and a solution put in place to ensure that data collection is consistent and can be provided by a single system. ISD have also indicated that it will be possible to build a performance dashboard specifically for front counter contacts. This will provide full visibility of the number of calls for service across all sites and performance against our SLAs.

      Contacts Updated
      The starting point for the front counters was with creating customer contacts, however, during the second data capture period the data also shows where customer contact records have been updated by front counter staff, as demonstrated in Table 3:

      Table three:

      Station Customer Contacts Updated(5 December 2013 – 19 January 2014)
      York 155
      Scarborough 48

      The data indicates that York are dealing with a significant number of repeat customers when compared to Scarborough.

    3. Conclusion
      The results of the trial are very encouraging and feedback from both the front counter staff and FCR staff is positive. During the course of the trial a number of technical and process issues have been highlighted, however these issues are relatively minor and we are confident that these can be easily rectified through process improvement work.

      By working together as a team this means that the customer is receiving a more tailored and responsive service and fits in with aims of the Operational Policing Model workstream in ensuring that NYP are optimising resources and looking differently and innovatively at what services NYP deliver, where, when and how – not just now but in the future.

      The data is a valuable source of information for capturing the demand for service via the front counters, as historically this has been ad-hoc and not scientifically based. Previously NYP have only been able to accurately identify demand based on measuring calls for service in to the FCR therefore this will enhance the way the organisation captures and measures demand in the future to ensure that NYP have the right level of resources in the right place at the right time to respond to our customers’ needs.

      The business benefits detailed in the initial change proposal are already being realised as demonstrated by the performance data and feedback from the practitioners and managers within both the FCR and front counters.

      The increased knowledge of a customer’s profile available through Aspire is leading to an improved customer experience, increased speed of service and a more informed and customer-focused response to enquiries.

      The communication and relationship between the front counter teams and the Force Control Room has improved, incidents are now largely being recorded in a timely fashion and allocated accordingly and our customers are being kept up to date throughout the process. The input speed within the font counter teams has improved, double-keying of incident reports has stopped and access to a summary of a customer’s previous contacts has proven invaluable.

      Below is some of the feedback received from the front counter staff:

      What has gone well:

      • Speedier service for customers at front counters
      • Easy system to use, very user friendly
      • Reduction in duplication
      • Quicker process in sending service requests to the FCR
      • Tick box to indicate whether someone is waiting at the front counter
      • Provides OSOs with good background information
      • Front counter staff able to monitor progress and provide timely update to customer
      • One team ethos – part of the same process to deliver speedier service to customer
      • Provides an audit trail

      What has not gone so well:

      • Verification of address in Aspire does not always work
      • SLA times not always met for creating incidents in STORM, therefore OSOs contacting FCR for updates
      • Technical issues leading to service requests not getting through the system and stacking up

      The trial has also highlighted a number of minor issues and it would be fair to say that these have either been resolved or are being worked through by members of the Aspire working group. Therefore it is anticipated that if approval is granted to fully roll-out we are confident the product is fit for purpose / the future.

  3. Potential Future Development
    Currently NYP are the only police service in the UK utilising Aspire Customer Contact software within the front counter environment. We have been approached by colleagues from a number of police services who are looking with interest at the work we are doing to enhance the service we provide within the front counter environment and to build on the links between the front counter and control room teams.

    A number of system development opportunities have arisen as a result of conducting the pilot. NYP have had initial discussions with the provider (APD) regarding the potential for future development of Aspire to better meet the requirements of a front counter environment. It is anticipated that any further system enhancement and development work will be at nil cost to NYP as the provider seeks to work with NYP to further develop their product. APD have requested that NYP act as a case study site for the further development of Aspire within the front counter environment.

    A proposal has been submitted to the Operational Policing Model team detailing the potential for further expanding the use of Aspire to record customer contacts within external meetings/customer engagement forums as APD seek to develop a web-based software package that can be accessed and updated offline.

  4. Recommendations
    It is respectfully requested that the Executive Board:

    • Grant permission to fully roll-out the Customer Contact Database (Aspire) to the police stations currently providing a front counter service which are staffed by OSOs
    • Where approval is granted to roll-out Aspire, permission is also sought for approval to spend against the allocated budget (DN066/2013)
    • Grant approval for full out of hours ISD technical support for Aspire
    • Grant approval for NYP to continue to work with APD to further develop the use of Aspire as a customer contact tool and for NYP to act as a case study site for APD

    A proposed timeline is attached (Appendix A) identifying a phased approach in terms of:

    • Confirmation to ISD re. numbers for additional PCs, memory upgrades, purchase and installation of Aspire licences
    • Confirmation of requirements/support from Property & Facilities
    • Confirmation of training requirements/dates and availability of OSDOs to support launch


    • Operational Policing Model
    • Technology & Innovation (ICT Strategy)
  5. Other options considered, if any

    Option 1 – Do nothing
    The success of the pilot and the continued development and further exploitation of the functionality offered by Aspire is evident and as such the alternative option of ‘do nothing’ is not recommended.

    Option 2 – 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 3 – 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.

  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Financial Implications/Value for money
    On the 27th September 2013 approval was given by the Executive Board for the allocation of full roll out costs of £60,550 within the 2013/14 Capital and Revenue Development Programme. Approval is now sought to draw down on that budget as detailed below:

    Description Unit Cost Number Required Estimated Cost Priority
    Additional Computers (incl. standard corporate licences) £1,300 1 £1,300 High
    Additional Screens and Splitters £200 7 £1,400 High
    Upgraded Computers (memory only) £30 46 £1,380 Medium
    LicencesIndividual £800 each + Service support per annum 50 £40,000£6,000 p.a. High
    Front Counter Building and IS Development Work and 5% Contingency £7,970 High
    Training Costs* £2,500 1 £2,500 High
    Total £60,550

    *£2,500 has already been spent in providing a ‘Fulfilment Administration’ Training course for six ISD engineers. This has enabled 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 have developed the training package in conjunction with Organisational Support Development Officers (OSDOs) and this is now ready for full roll out.

    Chief Constables Chief Finance Officer Comments:
    The budget allocated to the ASPIRE project in the MTFP is £60.6k (£51.2k capital and £9.4k revenue). This budget is all in 2013/14 at present, and if this DN is approved some of this will be slipped into 2014/15 in accordance with the projected timescale in Appendix A.

  9. 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 Head of Legal Services and 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.
  10. 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.


Appendix 1: 093 Appendix One

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 has reviewed the request and is satisfied that it is correct and consistent with the NYPCC’s plans and priorities. Gary Macdonald 27.02.2014
Legal Advice Legal advice has been sought on this proposal and is considered not to expose the PCC to risk of legal challenge. Simon Dennis 3638 17 March 2013
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 Jane Palmer 004364 6 March 2014
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. Kate Williams 6185 14/02/14
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 Kate Williams, Customer Relationship Manager & Tracey Lee, Development Futures Analyst Date: 14th February 2014
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