Essex County Council Case Study

Background Information

Start date of contract: 1st January 2007 Essex County Council
Name of client: Essex County Council
Type of courses provided: NSAC, NDAC, WDU and RiDE

Details of services provided

PDS provides Essex with Atlas for all NDORS course booking provision, contact centre service for telephone bookings and enquiries and merchant card processing fees.

Key implementation issues

Due to the austerity measures, Essex County Council had a requirement to outsource a contact centre capability for NDORS course bookings. PDS advised Essex that a similar service was provided on behalf of Devon & Cornwall, South Wales, Gwent and Dyfyd Powys Police Authorities. To add Essex to the portfolio of PDS contact centre clients would require minimum investment for Essex in implementation, service launch and day-to-day management. This saved Essex County Council a recruitment process, training, ongoing day-to-day management, employee and service overheads and office space reconfiguration.

Details of service levels


From the client interface, offenders have the facility to choose, book and pay for a course at a time and venue that is convenient to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (within critical dates and controlled by the Service Provider).

Atlas’ stated aim is to be available to clients and service providers 99.5% of the time. The norm for Atlas availability is 99.75%.

Through controlled access, Essex County Council administrators have the benefit of a full audit trail and complete access to individual client status.

The system allows clients to choose their preferred venue and course date.

PDS provides a comprehensive suite of reports for Essex detailing courses, venues, clients and pre attendance data e.g. courses booked by course type and booking format (online or telephone).

Contact Centre

To provide a contact centre service for all NDORS Course Bookings to facilitate clients with courses and venues and course fee payment during office hours Monday – Friday, 08.00 – 17.00 hours

To provide an out of hours answer service advising the option to book online.

To supply Essex County Council with telephone call analysis regarding course bookings and enquires.

To direct callers with special circumstances e.g. part-payment option, to Essex County Council for processing.

The service levels for both Atlas and the Contact Centre have been fully met resulting in an excellent, trusted business relationship between PDS and Essex County Council.

Lessons learned, innovations and best practice

Since Atlas was first provided for Essex County Council, course booking numbers have grown significantly. PDS has worked with Essex County Council to provide a business model that reflects the increases in course volume processing and to encourage cost efficiencies. Working in partnership with Essex County Council, PDS has been able to facilitate long-term cost forecasts together with reduced administration, printing and stationery costs. Additionally, by providing call-type analysis on behalf of Essex County Council, PDS and the Council have identified a methodology to increase the number of bookings made online rather than by telephone resulting in reduced overheads and charges.

Essex are also key members of the Atlas User Group which meets to demonstrate the latest system updates, discuss user change requests and to share best practice with other Atlas users. In this way PDS aims to keep Atlas fit for purpose and to utilise latest system technology for the benefit of all clients and customers.