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Craven and Harrogate councils working for a customer service revolution

Residents served by Craven District Council and Harrogate Borough Council are to benefit from radical service improvements it has been announced today. Both councils have announced a new collaboration with Northgate Information Solutions, the leading provider of customer relationship management systems.

After an innovative joint procurement exercise, the councils have decided to work with Northgate to improve access to council services and value for money for local residents and businesses.

Each council will be implementing Northgate’s ‘Front Office’ solution to give better customer service by:
- providing ‘one-stop’ services for local residents and businesses;
- joining up back-office systems to give council staff instant access to information;
- tracking the progress of customer queries more effectively;
- delivering performance and other management information.

Councillor Manuel Camacho, Portfolio Holder responsible for Improving Access at Craven District Council, said today:

“By joining up with Harrogate Borough Council we were able to pool our skills and buying power so we could purchase the best solution for both our communities - and saved a total of £100k in the process.

“We have a clear vision for improving Council services for Craven residents by simplifying and streamlining the service delivery process from initial contact to satisfactory conclusion. Not only will it improve the experience for customers, but our approach is innovative in that it goes beyond the initial contact point, removing wasteful duplication and unnecessary form filling, saving money and time. Our work to date has been very productive, with a joint team from Craven and Northgate working well together, pushing the boundaries and further proving this concept.”

Councillor Alan Skidmore, Harrogate Borough Council, said today:

“Working with Craven District Council in a joint procurement has enabled us to find a partner who will not only help us deliver better council services now, but will also be able to support our plans for future improvement. The Council has also achieved significant capital and revenue savings by working together with Craven DC.”

Dave Meaden, Managing Director, Northgate Public Services, said today:

“We are delighted to be helping both Craven and Harrogate councils to continue to put local communities at the heart of what they do. Their innovative joint procurement shows how more and more councils are recognising the benefits of working together to deliver efficiencies and better services.

“Residents and businesses want quick and simple access to council services and the partnerships announced today are all about helping council staff meet that demand.”

- Ends -

For more information:

Fellows’ Associates:
Kathy Sutton 020 7849 3403 / 07966 890401
Vincenzo Rampulla 020 7849 3489 / 07930 566291


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.

2. In the UK, Northgate works with four out of five local authorities and every police force. 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.

3. Front Office’ is Northgate's leading citizen-relationship management software solution - helping public sector bodies to improve transactions with customers, track the progress of queries, and review performance and other management information.

4. Craven is one of England's most outstanding scenic areas, covering the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the upper parts of Airedale, Wharfdale and Ribblesdale. The biggest centre is the market town of Skipton which is the focal point of trunk roads and a natural shopping centre for the rural community surrounding it. The District has a population of over 50,000 and covers an area of 117,994 hectares - more than three times the size of the City of Bradford. For more information visit www.cravendc.gov.uk.

5. Although the resort of Bath is older, Harrogate was nevertheless the first place in the British Isles to be given the name of spa. Famous for centuries for welcoming visitors who wished to benefit from the health giving waters, the town now sits at the centre of one of the biggest local authority areas in the country. And it is still famous for welcoming visitors - 21st century visitors flock to the town’s world famous Harrogate International Conference Centre for conferences, exhibitions and entertainment. The centre is positioned 3rd in a national league of conference towns based on direct spend by business visitors. Business and holiday tourism bring in over £200m to the local economy and support some 7,000 FTE jobs. For more information visit www.harrogate.gov.uk.