Our network operates over more than 800 sites and employs over 10,000 staff. Our ability to communicate flexibly and efficiently is absolutely critical. This also relies on a robust and commercially affordable IT platform both in terms of hardware and software. However, our local size and scale of operation frequently means that we rely on either smaller providers with limited capabilities or else go to large providers but without the economies of scale our combined size should allow us to use.
We are looking to understand the local requirements of our partners and to identify potential quality providers who will recognise the aggregated value of the network.
If you would like any further information, want to share your experience, or get involved, please contact us on NetworkInfrastructure@ageuk.org.uk
Latest Update – 01/12/20
Since our last update we have continued to talk to partners and learn about the many providers of telecoms and IT support that you currently use. Everyone agrees that the current pandemic has placed even more emphasis on robust systems to enable us to work remotely.
A number of partners, either on their own or in groups are looking towards new systems. We are very interested to learn of your experiences, both good and not so good, so that we can share those with the network.
We know of a few providers that some partners have used and these include:
- Premier Charity Line. They are being used by a number of partners across the country. See previous update below for further information.
- 8×8 are a large telecoms provider. One partner received funding to set up a call centre for Covid response and used 8×8 to set up a new system at speed which has worked well for them.
- Frontier Group. They already provide mobile telephony solutions to a number of partners.
- Twilio Flex. This is the solution Age UK have gone to for its new telephony. As a very modern system this has recording/security features and a pay as you go model. This could be copied easily by others to follow the structure.
- Class Networks. They provide services to Age UK Enterprises and local partners. They are creating a case study for us to share with the network on the implementation they have just done for one local partner.
We continue to talk to partners about their telephony and IT systems. If you are looking at changing providers, we can introduce you to the partners already using the providers shown above. If you use another provider and think that we should know about them, for good or not such good service, then please let us know at NetworkInfrastructure@ageuk.org.uk
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We have identified a number of common providers for both telephony and IT support across the network. It has also become clear that for many this is a critical issue and many are reliant on small organisations or internal skills to maintain their structures.
We have one provider, Premier Charity Solutions, which acts for over a dozen partners. They have agreed a discounted pricing structure for partners as well as innovative solutions for them post Covid. We continue to look for a number of other potential providers.
In our last update we mentioned Premier Charity Solutions and their provision of IT and web support. Premier Charity Line is an affiliate company providing telephony and connectivity solutions with exclusive benefits for the third sector. While the two organisations share branding similarities, they are separate businesses that work shoulder to shoulder to deliver comprehensive solutions covering all aspects of communications and IT between them. They already work with some of you for your telecoms and IT provisions and your testimonials speak volumes about the confidence you have in them.
We have attached some information from Premier Charity Line highlighting some of their key services and experience providing innovative, bespoke communications solutions in this sector.
They are also offering every Age UK Brand Partner a no-obligation audit which will serve a dual purpose:
- Your individual organisation will receive a comprehensive report of their findings including the following aspects:
- Existing set-up: Existing maintainer, telephone system type, handsets, current system functions used, condition of system and expected lifecycle, maintenance charges and level of cover.
- Equipment review: Kit to be replaced, reasons why, suggested replacement, timescales and associated costs.
- Recommendations: Full set-up and system recommendations, future-proofing and expected changes in technology.
- They will provide an anonymised consolidated report of all findings to us and all participating sites which will highlight common themes, good practices, opportunities where sites can benefit from shared or streamlined services as well as identifying economies of scale.
There is more information on their audit process in the below attachment but these are being offered completely free of charge to Age UK Brand Partners so please do get in touch if you would be interested in taking advantage of this.