A new Scottish framework that councils can buy their customer service software through goes live today – and brings supplier support for ICT apprenticeships and Code Clubs.

scotland excel

The new national customer service IT framework for councils is predicted to be worth £15m over four years and is launched today by Paisley-based Scotland Excel.

The Customer Service Platform framework lets councils buy quality ‘off the shelf’ packages that: log, process and respond to customer requests; allow customers to ‘self serve’ through an online portal; include effective reporting tools; and share information to cut duplication.

Four companies have been selected to supply the Scotland Excel framework following a tender exercise. They’ve each committed to offering a range of extra community benefits, that include ICT apprenticeships for students, school talks about IT careers and support for Code Club initiatives for kids.

Councillor Mike Holmes, Convener of Scotland Excel said: “Building community benefits into frameworks is central to what Scotland Excel does. I’m delighted this new contract not only puts in place efficient options for councils to buy customer service software – but it goes the extra mile by securing benefits for young people with suppliers ready to invest in the future of Scotland’s digital economy.

“Education programmes delivered by industry can build vital digital skills among Scotland’s future workforce.  Code clubs teach children how to create a range of digital codes for things like websites, animations, games, while giving them programming skills and an understanding of how technology is created.”

Julie Welsh, Director of Scotland Excel, added: “Scotland’s councils are becoming more and more customer-focused and have worked closely with us to shape this new framework. The new contract makes sure councils can easily source user-friendly, high quality software that lets the public communicate with them, and which allows the local authority to efficiently and effectively deal with their requests. This is all about best value, high quality and innovative software, and the choice for each council to consider the best solution for their requirements.”

Through the contract, councils can choose to buy software that’s either hosted by the supplier or hosted on their own premises. If they opt for software that’s hosted by the supplier – this could reduce the number of in-house servers which would cut their amount of hardware and their energy consumption. The framework also includes installation and maintenance.

The four companies that will supply the framework are: Civica UK Limited, Firmstep Limited, KANA Software Ireland Limited, Netcall Telecom Limited.