Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s largest local authority, is upgrading its network to provide an IP telephony infrastructure and a multilingual contact centre.

The local authority says the high-bandwidth communications network, being rolled out over the next six months, is fundamental to its e-government strategy. This strategy, Access Glasgow, is intended to make it easier for the city’s 630,000 citizens to communicate with the council’s 30,000 workforce. The new network will deliver a communications platform that integrates data, voice and video to support front-line applications including online consultation and planning, tax collection and benefit.

Telecommunications provider Thus, which has a £42 million communications contract in place with the council, will deliver the IP telephony services using the Cisco Unified Communications System. Glasgow and its neighbour East Dunbartonshire Council have developed a procurement system for social care equipment which they say has delivered substantial efficiency gains.

The application, implemented as part of the Access Glasgow, enables 1,200 district nurses, occupational therapists and other care staff from council social services departments and Greater Glasgow NHS to order equipment over the internet. The system has sped up the delivery of equipment and provided better tracking of stock and product reuse, which has cut costs. More than half the 20 most frequently used items are now reused, resulting in a £1.75m saving.