Arden and Greater East Midlands (AGEM) NHS Commissioning Support Unit delivers IT systems and services to over 70 health and social care clients, including NHS Trusts, GP Practices, and Integrated Care Boards, supporting over 45,000 NHS colleagues.
Arden & GEM (AGEM) is a multi-award-winning provider of IT systems and support for health and social care clients. Proud to be part of NHS England, AGEM delivers innovative and transformational solutions that support the Triple Aim of better health and wellbeing for everyone, better quality of health services for all individuals, and sustainability of resources.
AGEM serves a portfolio of 70+ customers including ICBs, ICSs, NHS England, local authorities, and care providers spanning primary, secondary and community care. AGEM’s transformational solutions help these customers to work collaboratively to deliver the priorities of the NHS Long Term Plan and provide new models of integrated care to meet the needs of their population.
In 2021, AGEM conducted a review of IT support services which identified key opportunities for improvement. These included:
- Setting the conditions to meet and exceed key performance indicators and service levels.
- Improving customer satisfaction levels.
- Improving staff attrition rates to support AGEM’s delivery workforce.
In addition, AGEM had established a strategic objective for the service to gain an industry recognised accreditation, electing to work with the Service Desk Institute (SDI). In a pre-assessment audit, SDI rated AGEM’s services at a weighted score of 2.06 out of 4 across the nine assessment concepts or service areas.
AGEM therefore initiated a service improvement programme, with the aim of delivering the above-mentioned improvement objectives, and targeting a ‘Proactive’ SDI accreditation result (Between 2.5 and 3.09), Mason Advisory was engaged to assist with the creation of a strategic IT Service Management (ITSM) transformation roadmap, and to advise and guide the accreditation preparation project.
We used our extensive knowledge and experience of ITSM principals, service delivery methods, and organisational best practice, to analyse and review the AGEM service delivery organisation and identify specific recommendations for transformation initiatives. These were captured and built into a prioritised roadmap for implementation.
AGEM wanted to use the SDI accreditation process as a framework to guide the focused implementation of service improvements across their service organisation. Mason Advisory created a detailed plan to implement improvements in each of the nine SDI concept areas, defining high level tasks and target scores for each. Changes and improvements were monitored and captured in a storyboard format, providing evidence for the SDI Assessment.
Improvement activities included:
- Improving leadership engagement.
- Promoting awareness of AGEM’s IT service delivery mission and strategy to staff and customers.
- Creating new staff onboarding processes and role-based training.
- Improving staff engagement and empowerment.
- Reviewing and refining service processes and operating procedures, removing inconsistencies, and improving role definitions and outcomes.
- Defining a comprehensive set of service measures aligned to contractual obligations.
- Building an online dashboard to capture and display near real-time management information.
- Creating an enhanced customer engagement framework to capture customer intelligence and provide insight and feedback to the service.
The joint project team focused on aligning the goals of the project with the objectives of the service. The SDI assessment framework allowed the team to challenge and change its ways of working, using best practice parameters to define target requirements, and creating a plan for service improvement. With Mason Advisory’s guidance, the team was able to foster stakeholder engagement with, and commitment to, the programme of work, by implementing significant improvements and demonstrating results at pace.
Our primary objectives for the engagement were to build an ITSM transformation roadmap and help attain the targeted ‘Pro-active’ level of SDI accreditation. This target was exceeded, with AGEM achieving a remarkable 3.32, achieving SDI’s higher ‘Customer Led’ level, providing excellent publicity for AGEM, and promoting a sense of pride across the service delivery team.
The true value of the engagement, however, was demonstrated by the significant service improvements that were made across the delivery organisation, which led to the excellent accreditation result.
On successful completion of the SDI audit, we helped the project team draw out the lessons learned, many of which have shaped AGEMs ongoing continuous service improvement programme. These lessons included:
- Focusing on IT staff engagement in improvement initiatives, listening to their views and feedback, and offering personal development, leading to improved customer interactions and reduced staff attrition.
- Realising the value of ITSM and following industry standard frameworks to drive understanding, process efficiency and integration across the IT organisation.
- Embedding the importance of service transition planning and project governance, ensuring stakeholder engagement, and understanding.
- Balancing time spent on quick win solutions with the need to work on more strategic development initiatives.
- Tackling technology changes or process definition as early as possible, in recognition of the fact these often take longer than anticipated to fully embed.
- Seeking out and listening to the ‘voice of the customer’ when looking to drive service improvements.
“Mason Advisory worked with AGEM, quickly becoming an integral part of the team providing invaluable expertise and guidance throughout the creation of the service transformation strategy and the subsequent implementation project. Their dedication and collaboration contributed to us achieving the ‘Customer Led’ level of SDI accreditation and implementing meaningful improvements in the delivery of the strategy across the service delivery organisation.”
Andrea Slater – Head of Service Delivery, AGEM