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'Free Public Sector to Improve Customer Service'

21 July 2003

Contact centres’ true potential to transform customer service may never be realised due to government bureaucracy which prevent public bodies from working together, according to Westminster City Council.

Speaking at a workshop of senior officials and politicians from London local authorities last week, Westminster’s Chief Executive Peter Rogers argued that there was no technical reason why local authorities, police and the health service could not operate from a single customer service centre.

However complex procurement regulations which prevent joint-working were standing in the way, he commented.

"Following the Comprehensive Performance Assessments, there is a genuine desire in the public sector to improve customer services and, despite hurdles of politics and local pride, we really could achieve more by working together”, said Mr Rogers.

“Sadly, until the procurement red tape is slashed we have to keep operating in isolation. This hampers improvements in customer care across the public sector, wastes money and is frustrating for all of us who can see the benefits we're missing."

He was supported by Leader of the Council Simon Milton in stating a wish that the Deputy Prime Minister will relax the rules governing collaboration between public services.

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