describes the centralisation of certain transactional processes
e.g. personnel records, payroll, finance, customer service, etc.
Transactional services are those administrative procedures common
to many departments, which can be carried out using new technology.
often use call centre technologies, and this can either be done
in house, or by outsourcing to external companies.
March 1999 - Government
White Paper - Modernising Government, looked at improved delivery
of public services to give:
- joined up, responsive
- more efficient and
People are growing
used to services that are available when they want them, so the
government aims to make public services in national and local
government, the NHS and related services, available 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, where demand exists.
In December 1999 Jack
McConnell, then Minister of Finance, outlined the Scottish Executive's
response when he launched the 21st Century Government for Scotland,
followed up in February 2000 by the Modernising Government Fund.
In December 2000 Angus Mackay awarded £26m from the Fund
to 36 projects from which "high quality innovative projects
would improve provision of a range of services to the public",
creating savings, "to release more resources for frontline
Most councils in Scotland
submitted successful bids, in conjunction with health authorities,
government agencies and the voluntary and private sectors. Examples
of projects involve:
- customer service
- cross agency working
- multi-agency work/service
- co-location of agencies,
information kiosks, etc.
is increasingly being used for HR provision throughout the private
sector, with Scottish Power being the most recent to outsource
this work to CSC Scotland. Many companies are preparing to offer
to manage Shared Services to public sector organisations.
A major driver for
centralisation into call centres is the introduction of new technology,
both through the use of call centres and the internet enabling
many administrative functions to be performed online.
Call Centre Working Group has identified three benefits from moving
to call centre operations:
- Better service
less form filling, quicker decisions, immediate answers to questions,
less travelling, wider access, e.g. evening and weekend working.
- Greater effectiveness
reduced mistakes, problems resolved by dialogue rather
than posting forms,
- Cost savings
reduction in space through centralised accommodation, reduction
of work through less transactions, fewer staff needed, more
effective utilisation of staff time by control and supervision
can lead to a whole range of difficulties that need constant monitoring.
Trade union involvement is essential to alleviating these difficulties,
- Less personal service,
both for users and for the staff
- Loss of experienced
staff and their knowledge
- Devaluation of the
essential administrative tasks staff undertake
- Devaluation of the
service provided in the eyes of the public.
- Blurring of boundaries
between the professional staff and administrative support staff.
- Complex delivery
of public services needs staffing by people who understand the
working of the whole organisation
- De-skilling of administrative
staff can lead to their de-motivation and a high turnover.
- Not all of the new
technologies are proven and that can often come at a high cost.
- Particular problems
that cannot be resolved at the front line have to be shifted
to a line manager.
to good practice in call centres, entitled On Line Advice highlights
many of the difficulties, and produces negotiator checklists for
stewards' use. It emphasises Health and Safety issues, such
as rest breaks and ergonomics for using information technology.
- Be aware of any
plans in your workplace to create call/customer service centres
through combining services.
- Make plans to study
the proposals and protect the workforce.
- Ensure that guidelines
in On Line Advice are followed.
For Further Information
UNISON Booklet: Online
Advice: A negotiators Guide to Good Employment Practice in Call