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The Background

As Ireland’s professional standards body for the teaching profession, The Teaching Council is required to act in the interests of the public whilst simultaneously upholding and enhancing standards in one of the nation’s most widely respected vocations.

However, with a register of almost 112,000 teachers that continues to grow year-on-year, the Council identified a need to digitize and streamline key structural and administrative processes.

Having already established a strong presence in Ireland through membership CRM work with the Dublin Chamber, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, Silverbear was appointed by the Council, following a public procurement process, with a view to modernising the organisation’s entire digital footprint.

The project

The Council’s ambitious growth plans required a contemporary digital registration system that could be scaled in line with its growing registrant base. However, the number of manual touch points it had in place ran counter to its overall strategy and, in many cases, were at odds with its wider goals.

After identifying a number of key areas that could benefit from an enhanced digital infrastructure including the teacher’s registration process, qualification assessment, candidate vetting, annual renewals, document management and day-to-day contact management, the Council asked Silverbear to radically improve its digital processes across every tier of the organisation.

Silverbear immediately set about developing a user-friendly registration platform, built on its Silverbear 365 system, that would deliver a feature-rich, self-service portal to meet the needs of the Council’s registered teachers and new applicants.

Furthermore, particular attention was given to ensuring that the Silverbear 365 CRM would not only improve the user experience of the Council’s external stakeholders, but also those of the Council’s employees. After all, the manual processes it had in place were resource-intensive and took up more time than was necessary in a digital age.

Following a discovery process, the implementation started in June 2020, right in the middle of national lockdown measures imposed in Ireland in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite this set back, and needing to deliver virtually the whole project remotely, the system went live in October 2021.

The result

Since the system went live in October 2021, The Teaching Council has:

Benefitted from a specialist registration platform built on Silverbear 365, which can now be scaled in line with the Council’s growth and kept up to date with the latest tools in Microsoft’s business applications platform

Fully digitised all key registrant processes including the automation of renewal notices, online payments and e-receipts, and gained real-time access to the full payment history of all registered teachers

Installed a fully interactive online website that has enabled the organisation to publish its entire register on a portal, which allows for real-time updates; previously, a manual update was made each night

Created and installed a secure self-service portal in which all registrants can access and manage activities and documentation relating to them. For example, all users can now apply for registration, update their details, download registration certificates, update employment details and raise queries via the portal

Implemented a robust reporting tool that can easily be used by everyone across the organisation including those with a non-technical background

Installed a framework for automatically managing GDPR compliance

Gained access to a state-of-the-art digital eco-system that simplifies the registration and associated processes, removes barriers to registration and can easily be used by all teachers working in primary, post-primary and further education

Futureproofed its entire digital infrastructure through the latest and most secure cloud-based platform available from Microsoft

“Silverbear has a proven track record of delivering large scale digital transformation projects within the membership sector. Its reputation, and the range of functionality its platform provides, left us in no doubt that Silverbear is the right CRM partner for us. Future proofing the Teaching Council is very important, as is increasing the efficiency of the organisation. We’re addressing both of these aspects with Silverbear and implementing a system that will evolve in line with the demands of our organisation and its registrants.”

Phil Fox

Deputy Director, the Teaching Council

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