Improving access to government services – Wilson

19th November 2012

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson today announced BT has been selected as the new NI Direct Strategic partner to help improve the public’s access to government services in a contract worth £20 million.

The contract services will commence on 1st December 2012. It will provide contact centre capability to provide services such as Direct Debit set up for paying your rates, managing information on grant eligibility and application status and providing advice on a number of government initiatives and campaigns. The contact centre will provide telephone, web chat, e-mail, SMS text and social media services to allow people to access government through a wide range of channels.

Under the seven to ten year deal, BT will provide ICT expertise, support and infrastructure that will include a new payment service and software development tools to enable citizens to access online government services and mobile applications.

Making the announcement Sammy Wilson said: “The NI Direct Partnership will work with all Government Departments and their Agencies to promote digital channels as the primary means of interacting with individuals or businesses. This will support the Programme for Government commitment of improving online access to government services.

The new partnership contract has been designed to be flexible and future focused to ensure that it not only meets the needs of people today but will continue to deliver excellent customer service in the future.”



Concluding the Minister said:

While promoting the ‘Digital First’ approach for access to government services, the NI Direct Partnership will also help people who do not have access to the internet, through a telephone support service where customer service agents will access on line services on their behalf.”



Colm O’Neill, Chief Executive of BT Ireland said:

Society is changing and needs and expectations are changing with it. Our partnership with NI Direct will focus on increasing the range, usage and quality of digital interactions and services which deliver the greatest impact and efficiency for the public and Departments. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring our innovative technologies, processes and skills to bear on this initiative.”



Under the contract BT will become responsible for the delivery of the Flooding Incident Line on behalf of the Flood Response Agencies. Improvements to these services will include increasing capacity in the number of agents who can take these calls when incidents occur.