Oldham MBC wishes to be one of the best councils in the country and improve what it does, the ways in which it works and the best use of its resources. The council wanted a strategic partnership to play a significant role in this by:
- Improving the quality of customer service and performance in delivery of services
- Placing an emphasis on business process change linked to an improved ICT infrastructure
- Creating local jobs and better quality employment
- Stimulating regeneration and local opportunities
- Securing capital investment
- Maintain stability in revenue expenditure
The council recognises that while the creation of the strategic partnership may not deliver all the objectives stated above, they are confident that it will make a significant contribution to many of them.
Oldham, located to the North East of Manchester, contains a diverse mix of open countryside and urban environments, and similarly diverse population. As such, one of the Council’s key challenges is to build social cohesion and improve the quality of life across all segments of community. Although the economy boasts a thriving town centre and mix of service and manufacturing industry, the benefits are not necessarily felt across the entire borough, and the council’s challenge is to encourage a broader range of people to live, work, and enjoy leisure activities within the borough through widespread regeneration activities.
A traditional approach to the conduct of business and difficulties in securing funding had led to inefficiency and high costs, the political leaders recognized the importance of taking a radical look at the council model for delivering services and that transformation would allow greater investment to secure improvements in the lives of citizens and the challenges facing the borough.
The Unity Partnership is an innovative 12-year joint venture partnership set up in April 2007 between Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Agilisys and Mouchel.
The partnership is delivering transformed public services to Oldham citizens and creating new, higher value jobs, supported by ongoing training and development; and will grow over time through service provision not only to the Council but also to other public and private sector organisations; improving the quality of life and community cohesion in Oldham.
The Unity Partnership is working with local businesses to develop Oldham’s economy, drawing as well on the expertise and experience of Agilisys and Mouchel to support regeneration through investment, process improvement, and ongoing skills development.
Through the Unity Partnership, Agilisys delivers transformational services that the achievement of the council’s vision and strategy. Agilisys provides a wide range of services to the council, including being responsible for the delivery of all ICT services and Customer Contact Centre Services, as well as project and programme management.
Initiatives delivered in the first years of the partnership include £1m investment in a modernised telephone network and improved IT service desk, which continues to increase its performance rate of queries being answered at first point of contact, currently at 65%, up from only 52%.
We have also provided a rolling programme of technology services for Oldham Schools, including a £1.4m investment in development and management of the network infrastructure, email, Learning Platform, storage and hosting, through a Becta pilot. These all support the Computers for Pupils programme and Home Access Scheme, which aim to improve the learning experience and boost literacy for children across the Council.
The contact centre services we provide enable the council to fulfil the aims of its Community Strategy and its vision for community cohesion and regeneration. Through the delivery of this servicewe have been able to improve and increase accessibility to the council, improve effectiveness of the service and increase the quality so the council can better meet the needs of the residents and achieve greater value for money.
Delivery of these activities, transformed through improved and more efficient processes, has already started to contribute to increased savings (which is on track to deliver over £7m over the life of the contract) and better citizen services, all resulting in improved customer satisfaction levels. In addition, these initial improvements build a platform from which the Unity Partnership can continue to grow, providing regeneration and economic benefits throughout Oldham.
Download a PDF timeline for Oldham (675 kB) to learn more about our work with Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and the Unity Partnership.