We've Got It Covered
From faulty taps to zebra crossings
In order to save money, Haringey Council began collaborating with two other London councils to share digital and ICT services.
We provide Haringey's WAN connectivity and various telephony services. Thanks to 20 years' experience working with the Public Sector, we've supported the council's collaboration every step of the way.
Collaboration will produce savings of up to £6m across Haringey and the other two London boroughs.
It’s a busy Thursday morning at Haringey Council, but as usual the borough’s digital infrastructure is holding up to the varied demands of its 260,000 residents.
That’s a weight off Telecoms Manager Kevin Prior’s mind. From bin collections to social care, it’s his job to help make sure critical IT services are reliable, delivered efficiently and within budget.
The council website’s A to Z shows what an extensive range of services are provided. Everything from reporting faulty taps to requesting a new zebra crossing can be done via the internet.
As a network provider with over 20 years’ experience working with Public Sector organisations, Virgin Media Business is a proud partner in the day-to-day running of Haringey Council – and many others across the UK.
Delivering for taxpayers
Kevin says: “Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity is Virgin Media Business’s core provision to Haringey. We’ve been recently working together to update, upgrade and transform portions of this existing 20-year-old infrastructure. On the telephony side, Virgin Media Business seamlessly moved over our telephony services from other suppliers, consolidating all of our telephone lines into one contract with one vendor. We’re now saving in the region of 20 per cent on PSTN costs per annum, which is great news for our taxpayers.”
To make sure everyone has access to web services, there are several places throughout Haringey where residents can get online if they don’t have access to the internet at home.
Kevin’s colleague, Senior Telecoms Technician Andy Kelly, recalls an emergency at one such outlet that demonstrated Virgin Media Business’s cherished values of being small enough to be local, but large enough to deliver at scale.
Andy says: “As a flagship library and customer service centre, the Marcus Garvey complex is crucial for the delivery of services to residents. During its refurbishment, building contractors cut critical fibre cabling that needed to be repaired or replaced quickly. Other providers would mostly say the job would have to wait under due process, but Virgin Media Business quickly had engineers to site. They identified members of their engineering staff that knew the location and had detailed knowledge of the physical cable routes, dispatching them immediately. With other suppliers such an approach and business understanding is rare, but with Virgin Media Business it’s not unusual. There’s an innate understanding of the importance of putting citizen services first.”
A network you can call on
Virgin Media Business provides Haringey with resilient, cost-effective services supporting a range of 5000 Direct Dial In (DDI) numbers and, unsurprisingly, Haringey Council phones ring constantly throughout the day. Internal four-digit dialling within the network is free, while most outside calls are routed to the busy call centre by Virgin Media, where call volumes can be impacted for dozens of reasons.
But no matter what’s going on, the network must be robust enough to cope. After all, 60%* of citizen dissatisfaction stems from poor contact channels - and Haringey Council rightly prides itself on a superior standard of service.
Kevin says: “The call centre deals with council tax enquiries, social service demands, reporting faulty street furniture, fly-tipping and so much more. We also receive calls about the welfare of vulnerable people, which for obvious reasons need to be assured of a response. If there’s any outage or service degradation during busy periods it only compounds problems and reflects negatively on the Council.
“Virgin Media Business understands this and for as long as I can remember the network has performed without any major problems.”
Like other Public Sector organisations facing budget and resource cuts of up to 40%**, Haringey Council is under pressure to make savings. It’s why the council recently joined forces with Islington and Camden councils to share digital and ICT services. We’re playing our part in delivering an efficient Public Sector by supporting sharing services and collaboration on a national level.
Kevin says: “The logistics of bringing three council services together are complex, but do-able. The initial drive was cost savings of up to £6m across the three boroughs. Designing services to meet the needs of citizens while also bringing down costs is a challenge faced by many local authorities. Although early in the project, we’ve already benefitted from Virgin Media Business’s extensive Public Sector knowledge and experience.”
At your service
A dedicated service manager is mutually beneficial to provider and client, yet in many organisations they are a dying breed. Not at Virgin Media Business, where customers like Haringey Council benefit from our unique approach.
Kevin says: “Service managers are a key resource. I’m glad that Virgin Media Business places so much emphasis on delivering for the customer, which means we get dedicated service and account managers. I can always rely on them to react to an incident. With other suppliers you normally have to do all of the ‘chasing around’ and coordination personally. The facility of a dedicated service manager is one of the most valuable aspects that Virgin Media Business brings to the table.”
Want to know more about our work with the Public Sector and how we our helping organisations like yours to collaborate, save on costs and improve services for citizens?
Come and talk to us at the Public Sector Show; we’ll be at stand 240.
**UK Government 2015 Spending Review July statement