Fife Council

Local council introduce SMS messaging to proactively communicate with parents, teachers, and residents.

Background

Fife is Scotland’s third largest local authority area with a resident population of just under 360,000. Almost a third of the population live in the three principal towns of Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, and Glenrothes.

Fife Council delivers over 800 public services, through a team of 20,000 people. They also play a large part in the Fife Partnership which brings together the NHS, Constabulary, Scottish Enterprise, Communities Scotland and the appropriate further and higher education bodies of Fife.

Requirements

Fife Council needed a way to proactively communicate with parents, teachers, and residents when an emergency caused a school to be closed; most often caused by bad weather during the winter. 

They decided to develop and deploy a service that would enable the head teachers of the local schools to call a dedicated and secure phone line, select their school and choose the reason for closure. This system would then automatically send texts and emails to registered parents and teachers of the affected school, update the school and Council’s website and notify local radio and TV stations.

*This is an example text message. This copy was not used by Fife Council.

Solution

Fife Council began the tender process for an SMS partner and – “chose TextAnywhere on the simple basis that they came out top on the scoring system. Simplicity of using the system was important to us, and, in procuring best-value services, the cost of the text service was critical – we liked having no setup fee, and the messages were low-cost too,” commented Michael McMonagle, New Media Developer with Fife Council.

The overall system was then developed and deployed in a matter of months, on-time, on-spec and on-budget.

“TextAnywhere has proven to be a very capable partner, providing a robust and reliable service over the three years that we have been running this service.”

Michael McMonagle
Project Successes

Michael McMonagle – “The text service functions very well because a head teacher can convey the school closure message to parents within a minute of calling the phone line.” 

Following this success, Fife Council introduced a second system using SMS technology, matching available supply teachers to short-term teaching vacancies. This enables Head teachers to enter their requirements (skills, location and timing) and text messages are then sent to supply teachers whom match these, providing assignment and contact details. This system even won two prestigious awards, including ‘National eGovernment Award 2007’.

Range of Services

TextAnywhere empower organisations across both the commercial and public sectors to communicate better with text messaging services that enable the sending and receiving of SMS messages, through online and email applications. 

They also offer a Developer Toolkit for clients to integrate texting into their own applications, as well as a White Label service for partners who wish to offer TextAnywhere’s services as their own, to find out more email us at welcome@textanywhere.com.