E-services consortium hires Upward Curve

The consortium of local authorities that has the task of kick-starting electronic delivery of public services is embarking on a PR drive to speed up its implementation.

Led by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the consortium, the National Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programme, has hired Upward Curve PR after a four-way pitch.

Its strategy will be based on media relations, events and seminars, and internal comms.

The non-media remit involves communicating what CRM is to local government and policy makers, as well as promoting commercial partnerships with IT suppliers.

The CRM programme aims to deliver a wide range of services electronically, from processing council tax and housing benefit payments to helping to find nursery school places.

According to an Upward Curve spokesman, the aim is for authorities to build up profiles of individuals in order to act as a ‘one-stop shop’, rather than insisting people contact council departments separately for their needs.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, supported by the Office of the e-Envoy, has earmarked nearly £4.3m to launch the programme.

As well as Tower Hamlets, the programme team comprises the councils of Salford, Knowsley, Hull, Brent and Newham.

The programme team aims to develop a range of practical tools and products for other authorities to build a business case for introducing CRM. It intends to set up a National CRM Academy next March to act as a repository for best practice, as well as to provide training and support.

‘The programme will relieve local authorities from a painful and time-consuming trial-and-error process, and will be able to give them best practice and support,’ said National CRM Programme manager Andrew Devlin. ‘This includes free advice and an easy language policy.’

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