Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council Case Study

Requirement: VoIP Services

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council wanted to leverage the investment it had made in it now-legacy technologies by introducing new telephony, LAN and connectivity services. The council chose GCI to help it achieve this.

The Client

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council is one of the largest councils in the UK, providing services to 20,000 residents and more than 1,000 businesses based in the Southern and South-Eastern part of Manchester. The council employs more than 1,500 people in 228 locations and has a total of eight main council buildings.

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council wanted to improve the service that it offers to residents, providing easier and more direct access to council workers and departments by telephone and via the internet. Its legacy communications solution was expensive to operate and maintain, and was proving to be inflexible in terms of supporting Trafford Council’s aims, objectives and KPIs. Intra-company call costs were excessively high, and managing moves, adds and changes was a cumbersome, inefficient process that was unnecessarily costly. Additionally, not all of the local authority’s sites - such as schools, sports centres and libraries - were “on net”, leading to greater inefficiencies and higher costs.

Technical Solution

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council wanted to leverage the investment already made in some of its existing legacy technologies. To accomplish this, GCI introduced new Voice over IP (VoIP) systems based on a new LAN infrastructure solution, initially serving eight Trafford Council offices. VoIP and TDM voice applications over the new LAN infrastructure provided a mixture of IP and TDM voice services to more than 2,000 extensions integrated into a common data infrastructure. A numbering scheme meant that many of the specialist community support units were able to retain their existing and highly publicised telephone numbers, regardless of which council office they choose to work from. GCI also provided external connectivity for voice services such as inbound call routing and outbound tariff structures. The result was unified messaging including fax, voicemail and web conferencing being delivered to over 3,000 extensions.

Success and Company Benefits

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council’s new VoIP solution has had a positive impact from day one and has met key Government KPIs for citizen access to local services, with over 80% of calls answered at first point of contact. The council is not only more responsive and accountable, but also more flexible in terms of work locations. Residents have benefitted from increased levels of customer service, with the call centre being able to handle up to 70% more calls and many queries now resolved in less than 24 hours. Trafford Council has also seen significant cost savings, with the initial investment of £1.5m in the combined voice and data network recouped in cost savings within the first 15 months of operation. Additionally, costly reprints of brochures and leaflets for the council’s specialist community support services were avoided because the existing numbers could be kept in use.

The complete VOIP solution has now been rolled out to a total of 228 council facilities including council-run libraries, schools and sports centres plus an additional 1,500 users, resulting in dramatically reduced call costs between council offices and remote facilities. The combined voice and data network now supports the handling, routing and storage of enquiries and requests made via phone and email by residents and local businesses.

Mark Gibbison, Head of e-Government at Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “We have cut inter-office telephony expenditure by 50% since installation across the whole council. These savings will be diverted into delivering higher quality services to residents. The new system will enable us to manage organizational changes more effectively and serve Trafford residents better on the phone and via the internet.”

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