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  Salford Housing Services Call Centre

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Salford Housing Services Call-Centre

Another SPRINT case study that is attracting national interest.

In 2003, a decision was taken to develop a Housing Contact Centre in Salford City Council. It was designed as a satellite cluster to the authority's multi-function contact centre that will, over time, share functionality with the main centre.

The whole of the fifty seat Housing Contact Centre was created in eight weeks, from conception and design, right through to building work, system installation and go-live. Not a single management consultant was involved. Instead staff, housing managers and contact centre managers worked in a large open-plan room, using SPRINT, and creating designs and logging issues as they went through. They were facilitated by Ray Vet of the council's BPR team, who brought with him some prior knowledge based upon earlier SPRINT work.

At launch, the team had already managed to implement some notable back-office process improvements as well as the totally new front-office. Moreover, they had already established a list of further process improvements designed to move the service further forward after launch. At the launch party, several of the housing team declared those eight weeks the "best experience" of their entire work lives.

Commenting upon the role of SPRINT, Martin Vickers, the Head of Salford Direct, confirmed that it had been crucial. However, he also said that he was using SPRINT more confidently now than he had on previous projects. It was becoming more of a toolkit, enabling him to select a component to fit a problem as the project developed. He was not following it in the stepwise way of the earlier contact centre projects, but was rationalising and optimising its use in the context of the project. In this way, without realising it, he was describing the ability of "reflection-in-action" - the fabled skill of doctors, lawyers and other professionals (Schon, The Reflective Practitioner). SPRINT had become part of the toolkit of the professional public-sector change manager.


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