Sandwell Homes, an ALMO with 29,000 properties in the West Midlands, has just passed its first annual surveillance audit from Bureau Veritas for the internationally-recognised ISO 20000 certification it achieved last June with the help of Public IT. The audit provides external verification of the quality of the processes Sandwell Homes uses to provide IT services to its 950 end-users.
ISO 20000 covers the main aspects of how IT services are planned, controlled and delivered using key processes such as incident, change and service level management. Based on ITIL best practice, the standard was introduced in 2005 and has been steadily gaining worldwide acceptance since.
Sandwell Homes’ ISO 2000 accreditation was the result of a three-year effort to implement ITIL best practices. Its ICT services department had attempted to implement aspects of best practice based on ITIL but with limited success. As a result, although incident management and financial management were reasonably well developed, few other processes were in place. The service provided to users was variable with many issues caused by uncoordinated changes and the unit’s overall reputation within the business was lower then desired.
Public IT was asked to help the three-star ALMO to accelerate the implementation of ITIL. Through a combination of onsite support, workshops and meetings, Public IT then coached the management team at Sandwell Homes through the definition and implementation of the required policies and processes, based on a full set of template documentation that had been proven in previous ISO 20000 audits.
Sandwell Homes’ existing systems were evaluated for their support for the new processes and new ones introduced where required. The existing service desk system, BMC Service Desk Express, was retained and previously-purchased modules such as problem, change and configuration management were brought on-stream.
Public IT initiated regular meetings with key stakeholders on the business side to discuss the current service, new requirements and to negotiate service level agreements. A user satisfaction survey was also conducted before and after the introduction of the service improvement programme, with the results showing that end-user perception of ICT services had risen significantly during the implementation period.
The project culminated in a two-day audit by an external auditor from Bureau Veritas who described the implementation as one of the best he had seen, with no major or minor non-conformities against the standard being identified. Sandwell Homes’ ISO 20000 success is particularly remarkable as the project took place during a period of significant technical change which included several large office moves, the migration from Novell to Microsoft infrastructure, a new email system and the installation of VoIP telephony.