NHS

Meet our client: NHS South of Tyne and Wear

NHS South of Tyne and Wear (SoTW) is the name given to the integrated management arrangement that covers Gateshead Primary Care Trust, South Tyneside Primary Care Trust and Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust.

Serving a population of approximately 633,000 people, it is responsible for assessing their health needs, working closely with local hospitals, GP practices, pharmacies, dental practitioners, optometrists, and social care partners to ensure the best possible range of services are available.

As part of NHS South of Tyne and Wear’s drive for a more customer-focused service, it turned to QA to conduct a rigorous assessment of its IT Service Desk and build a roadmap to customer service excellence using the Service Desk Institute (SDI) certification process.

The challenge:

With the launch of NHS South of Tyne and Wear’s operational excellence programme, ICT management wanted to transform the department’s culture around customer service, enhancing the customer experience of the internal community its Service Desk supports.

Also, as NHS SoTW formed part of the NHS Support Services Partnership (SSP), it was more important than ever before that the Service Desk demonstrated its value to the wider business. With these aims, NHS SoTW wanted to benchmark its Service Desk against industry best practice and identify any areas for development. As such, it turned to Service Desk Institute (SDI) partner QA to perform a rigorous assessment of its Service Desk, identifying a roadmap to service excellence that led to successful SDI certification.

“Our operational excellence programme was about driving a new culture around customer service excellence. The SDI accreditation gave us a clear focus for meeting that standard.”

Darrin Shaw, Associate Director of Information & ICT (Informatics), NHS South of Tyne and Wear

The solution:

Comprising two separate evaluation processes, the route to certification involves an initial benchmarking assessment to identify recommendations for improvement, followed by a second audit at a later date to measure how far these improvements have been implemented. For the certification to be maintained, this process must be repeated on an annual basis.

QA worked closely with NHS SoTW to support its successful certification for two consecutive years. Each year, the activities at each stage of the process were as follows:

Initial assessment

The initial two-day assessment was conducted on site at NHS SoTW. Experienced Service Management consultants from QA observed the Service Desk’s activities and conducted group interviews to measure the Service Desk against the nine key elements of the SDI standard:

“The QA consultants were incredibly knowledgeable. They knew the SDI inside out and it wasn’t just a box-ticking exercise – no stone was left unturned.”

Kerry Thompson, Head of Business Transformation and Customer Service, NHS South of Tyne and Wear

→ Leadership
→ Policy & strategy
→ People & management
→ Partnerships & resources
→ Processes
→ People satisfaction
→ Customer satisfaction
→ Performance results
→ Social responsibility

Certification audit

For the four-day audit, the consultants performed group and individual interviews, as well as deskside and workplace observations. The audit verified how far recommendations from the initial assessment had been implemented and measured the overall maturity of Service Desk practices.

Having successfully completed the certification process twice, NHS South of Tyne & Wear is able to measure how its Service Desk has improved over the course of the two years. Following its first application for SDI certification, the Service Desk achieved a two-star maturity level in recognition of its status as a ‘proactive’ Service Desk.

“Everyone was extremely excited about getting the three stars. Having an accredited desk is a really excellent thing to achieve on both a team and individual level.”

Kerry Thompson

The outcome: 

And when it sought to renew its certification after 12 months, the Service Desk demonstrated even further service improvement and was awarded a three-star maturity level, recognising it a customer-led Service Desk. This increased level acknowledges the Service Desk’s transition towards a customer-focused culture, in line with the organisation’s wider operational excellence programme. ICT management has observed this shift in the team, with staff taking greater ownership of the customer experience and pride in the high levels of service delivered.

At the time of award, NHS SoTW’s Service Desk was the only one within the NHS to have achieved a three-star level of SDI maturity.

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