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Sheffield Homes delivers radical improvements to customer service

In a drive to enhance the quality of service provided to its housing tenants, Sheffield Homes has successfully completed a £1million overhaul of the IT Infrastructure supporting its core housing system.

The improved IT infrastructure, provided by Northgate Information Solutions, has enabled staff to be more responsive to tenant needs through increasing capacity and responsiveness for its 1,000 IT users.

Prior to the project, capacity restrictions and poor response times had constrained Sheffield Homes’ ability to deal effectively with enquiries. There is now capacity for a greater number of users to access the system simultaneously without any reductions in performance. The core technology also provides a firm foundation on which to manage future developments, such as flexible working for staff and increased self-service for tenants.

Northgate won the project following a competitive procurement run by Liberata, Sheffield Homes’ Strategic Partner. Northgate’s innovative approach and willingness to work with other partners (Liberata and Anite) was deemed to provide best value for money.

Janet Parry, Director responsible for ICT at Sheffield Homes, said today:

“Dealing quickly and efficiently with customer queries is central to our service ethos. The infrastructure refresh was imperative for us to be able to respond to customer queries quickly and provide the best level of service possible.

“The previous capacity restrictions and response times meant inefficient back-office processing, as staff had to wait their turn to log on to the system. We are now much better placed to move towards more flexible working practices and services for our tenants.”

Andy Ross, Managing Director, Northgate Managed Services, added:

“The Sheffield Homes project reflects our commitment to providing customer value in local government, helping authorities to improve the quality and efficiency of services they provide to citizens. Large scale IT upgrades can often be a long-winded and complicated process. Our innovative solution and approach means that users are seeing the maximum benefit in the shortest space of time.”

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For more information:

Naomi Stevenson 020 7849 3508/ 07966 890403


Notes to editors:

1. Northgate Information Solutions is a leading provider of software and managed services to the public services and utilities markets. Northgate’s task is to enhance public value through the intelligent use of people and technology, and to share in the economic and social benefits that this brings. With divisional headquarters in Hemel Hempstead and Belfast, Northgate has 25 major offices across the UK and six international offices. Founded in 1969, the company has over 3,300 employees.

2. In the UK, Northgate works with four out of five local authorities, every police force, and is the second largest provider of managed services in education, supporting over 55,000 desktops in Northern Ireland schools. Its systems are used in the management of over 1.5 million local authority and housing association properties; in the administration of more than £17 billion of revenues and benefits; and in electoral administration systems covering over 18 million people.

3. Sheffield Homes is an organisation set up and owned by Sheffield City Council to manage its council housing. Its mission is to work together to provide excellent homes and services in order to create clean, attractive neighbourhoods for communities in Sheffield.

4. Northgate installed 2 brand new Enterprise Level servers to support the newly upgraded core housing application, together with Network Appliance Filer storage technology to meet storage and backup requirements. This innovative approach reduces the time needed to back up systems, thereby increasing the hours during which the system can be used. Northgate has also implemented new thin client technology (22 Citrix presentation servers and 1000 Windows terminal devices) by which users access the core housing application and other applications. Northgate will be responsible for supporting the new end-user devices until March 2008.