Our ambition to be a Digital Council is very much about using appropriate digital solutions that enable work to be carried out more efficiently, effectively and collaboratively whilst safeguarding the security of the data and information that we work with. Whilst we are creating many of our own digital solutions to GDS (Government Digital Service) standards, we are also keen to harness the potential of new applications available within wider IT tools.

The Council has made the decision that Office 365 will help fulfil our ambitions and it is being introduced across all service areas over the next few months. Office 365 brings together the tools we need for our work, such as Excel and Outlook with cloud services such as SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, to let anyone create and collaborate anywhere on any device.

There are also a number of powerful apps available that offer benefits over some of our existing systems. In this blog, Helen, one of our Business Analysts demonstrates the difference that Office 365 ‘Staffhub’ is already making.

Stockport Council had been using the existing workforce management system for around 10 years in our Contact Centre. In the knowledge that the license for the current rota system was due to expire in March 2019 Digital by Design were brought in to look at alternatives in October 2018.

Identifying the pain points

After meeting with Contact Centre managers, it was clear that there were a number of frustrations with their current rota system:

  • Lack of flexibility to alter shift patterns – Team Managers were unable to alter shift patterns once they had been set for a person and movers between Contact Centre teams did not ‘show’
  • Leave booking – double booking was required with staff required to book annual leave on both the rota system and the council’s i-Trent self-service system. There was also no facility to show half-day absences. Furthermore Team Managers could only see their own team’s annual leave and not the wider picture across the whole Contact Centre.
  • Obsolete functions – the current system predicted and forecasted staff rotas, a function that was no longer required and had been turned off.


Our current system is just too big. We’ve had to turn off a lot of the functions because the Contact Centre is smaller now and we just don’t need half of what it can do. It’s costly and no longer fit for purpose.

Jayne Ormiston

Contact Centre Team Manager , Stockport Council

There was also the potential to make some savings by reducing licence fee costs, but the main purpose was to give the Contact Centre the ability to operate the rotas the way they wanted to.


  • provide a simpler rota with less features
  • remove the dual handling of absence bookings
  • enable visibility of all four team holidays
  • provide a rota that is accessible by contact centre staff
  • link to i-Trent to remove need to book on both systems

Potential solution

Accepting that this was not a case of replicating like with like, it quickly became apparent that this could be an ideal pilot opportunity for the new Office 365 application StaffHub. 

There were inevitable feelings and voices of uncertainty and debate about how a new, unknown system could be used by the Contact Centre, however they approached this enthusiastically, looking at how they worked currently, what their key requirements were and how they could change their processes to work with a new system and meet these requirements. 

From these conversations the key features of StaffHub were identified as:

  • Contact Centre team managers would be self-sufficient with managing and updating rotas
  • Contact Centre team managers would be able to view all team rotas
  • Contact Centre staff would be able to access StaffHub via a mobile phone browser and desktop
  • Support by Core IT would no longer be required; just 1 hour monthly to install and configure software upgrades

The outcome has been a positive one, the Contact Centre managers see StaffHub as easier to use than their previous system.

In essence, Office 365 has been the answer to the Contact Centre rotas problem. We needed a replacement, we needed flexibility, we needed ownership and we needed to make financial savings.

Jayne Ormiston

Contact Centre Team Manager , Stockport Council

And how do team members find it?


What’s happening next

Future development to link staff hubs with i-Trent is due during 2019 – where access will be determined by team and there will also be the ability to update absences such as holidays and flex in one place.

Rollout to other teams… staff hubs is now being used by the mailroom and IT helpdesk teams with more on the way with the introduction of ‘Teams’.

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