Chapter 1: Background
1. The idea of a Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Enquiry Point was first piloted in Stirling. This pilot was found to be successful and as a result an Enquiry Point Project Board was set up in 2008 with a view to set up a service wide contact centre.
2. A contact centre is a place where people can interact with an organisation, be it through telephony, email, fax, social media, etc. Such services should be provided in a way that are designed to meet both users and the organisations needs and easy to access. They should be efficient, effective and provide value for money. Services should be monitored and measured against targets and objectives and produce positive outcomes.
3. Contact centres can deliver key benefits:
- Enhances access - there is a clear point of contact
- Improves quality service - it is focussed and consistent
- Increases efficiency - better use of resources
- Greater effectiveness - routine calls dealt with quickly
- Cost savings - reduces the number of interactions and trying to resolve call at first point of contact
- Improves customer perception
4. According to Central Office of Information (COI) guidelines 'Better Practice Guidance for Government Contact Centres' excellent customer service can be achieved through:
- 'ensuring that the contact centre is accessible, with appropriate opening hours; sensible level of resource to meet demand and avoid queues; well structured response vehicles, processes and systems with considered use of technology; and, empowered, well trained empathetic agents who are able to engage in a good conversation and ideally meet citizens' needs in a first time call resolution or simply point them in the right direction for further information if that is more appropriate'
5. COPFS recognises that there is a need to put systems in place that will help provide the information needs of customers. The COPFS Strategic Plan 2009‑2012 states that it is committed to:
- 'providing services that meet the information needs of victims, witnesses and nearest relatives….'
6. This was reiterated in the recently published Strategic Plan 2012‑2015.
7. The COPFS Enquiry Point1 is a way of delivering such a commitment. It fully established in Dumbarton by October 2009. It allows for the provision of general information to the public and partnership agencies from a single point of contact and will either deal with the information needs of the person calling at the time or will route it to an office as appropriate.