Devon venture heralded as an exemplar of best practice

an open laptop, showing apps that will be relevant to schools

Posted on: 12 March 2019

‘Commercial organisation’ and ‘public sector’ are perhaps terms that don’t necessarily go together in the public’s mind.

Public sector, local councils say, provide publicly-funded public services, while ‘commercial’ businesses aspire to commercial objectives.

But sometimes the two models are complementary. A commercial approach to business, but with a public sector ethos.

For example, what began in the 1980s as a small in-house service within the Devon County Council’s Education department, Scomis has today become a player on a national platform.

Scomis provide ICT services to most of Devon’s schools; specifically IT systems that help schools run. Systems that monitor attendance, track pupil progress and behaviour, for example.

They also provide ICT support to Devon County Council and to a large number of other public sector organisations.

The service is still wholly part of the county council, and it still shares the public sector culture. But it competes in a competitive market with big business that sell to the public sector.

And it’s good at it, especially when it comes to customer service.

Traditionally, services of a similar model tend to stay within the geography of their local authority parents. Scomis has, as one might expect, has a large footprint in Devon, but it’s not stopped there. It’s expanded beyond the boundaries of Devon, using business techniques more familiar to private sector than public sector, now serving over 730 schools in 27 local authorities across the UK.

It’s even been heralded by the Parliamentary Review 2019 as an Exemplar of Best Practice in an Education Services article published later this month.

The Head of Scomis, Debbie Foweraker, said:

“We offer an excellent product, a market leader, but then I would say that. But it’s our service delivery that makes us special. We have a team of 17 education service desk analysts to take calls and resolve incidents. We also have a team of education specialists who visit schools nationwide. They work with headteachers, senior leaders, governors, teaching and operational staff to understand their challenges, develop close relationships and help them use the software more effectively. And we’re good at it. Our first-time resolution rates on our calls desk are well above industry averages, meaning we resolve problems quickly. In fact 91 per cent of the 72,000-plus calls and contacts with customers last year were solved within target times.”

And their offer to schools and the public sector is developing as technologies improve. New products, new services, are routinely tried, tested and rolled-out to customers, helping schools to run as efficiently and effectively as possible.

On Thursday 14 March, Scomis is hosting ScomisLive19 a showcase event at Exeter Racecourse. More than 300 delegates are expected from schools and public sector organisations across the region, including Head Teachers, Business Managers and representatives from Google and Microsoft Education.

Devon County Councillor Barry Parsons, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Organisational Development and Digital Transformation, said:

“We’re delighted to have recently been chosen as an Exemplar of Best Practice for the work we do with IT solutions within the Education sector. ScomisLive events are always popular, and present a great opportunity for schools and those involved with education to get together and to share developments. Technology does change, as do the requirements of schools to do their jobs well, and we’re proud to have a part in helping schools do just that.”

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Posted in: DCC Homepage | Education