BSS’ multiple certifications drive wide-ranging improvements


Formed in 1975, BSS is the UK’s only not-for-profit contact management organisation. In addition to operating four multi-channel contact centre’s in England and Scotland, BSS provides advisory, case management, content creation, marketing, mailing, response handling and other services.

In 1985 BSS set up and managed the Live Aid processing of donations totalling many millions of pounds; in 2009 BSS launched the new Carers Direct service for the Department of Health; and in 2011 it provided telephone help and advice to the public as part of the consortium delivering that year’s census for the Office of National Statistics.

Among its many other achievements, awards and commendations; in 2008 and 2011 BSS was named Outsourcing Contact Centre Provider of the Year at the National Outsourcing Association Awards.
BSS’ clients include the British Heart Foundation, HM Revenue & Customs, Kimberley-Clark, Mind, RSPCA, Department for Business Innovation & Skills, Skills Funding Agency, National Fraud Authority, Williams Lea and The Property Ombudsman.

Multiple certifications

BSS has the following certifications: • ISO 9001, Quality management systems • ISO 14001, Environmental management systems (EMS) • ISO 20001, now ISO 20000-1, Information technology – Service management • ISO 27001, Information technology – Security techniques – Information security management systems • Customer Contact Association (CCA) Global Standard, now Version 5 • Standard 55 – Cheque Printer Accreditations Scheme (CPAS)

“We gained our certifications mainly to bid for specific contracts and meet clients’ requirements,” says Kathy Taylor, Quality and Environmental Manager at BSS. “We also identified likely cost, control and efficiency benefits, particularly in the case of ISO 14001 and ISO 20001.

“CCA is the lead body in the contact centre field and overlaps with many elements of ISO 9001 and with another of our awards, Investors in People.”

New auditor

BSS wanted to integrate all its ISO standards into one system. Its previous auditing company was unable to provide integrated audits so BSS issued a tender. SGS United Kingdom Ltd, who can deliver Integrated Management Systems, won the bid and now audits BSS’ operations to the four ISO standards and the CCA Global Standard. Kathy Taylor explains: “Ray Mooney SGS Client Manager, came to our Manchester site to discuss our needs and provided a solution that reduced the time spent being audited, cut our costs and enabled us to focus more on continual improvement.

“We previously had separate systems for each of the ISO standards, making it difficult for us to locate relevant documentation and processes. By integrating all the standards within a SharePoint 2010 solution, the processes are now compact, standardised and easy to find. We’ve completed our first integrated audit, which has streamlined our internal and external auditing programme.”

BSS’ four ISO standards, CCA Global Standard and CPAS are next due for recertification – all efficiently and conveniently at the same time – in August 2015.

SGS support

Kathy Taylor rates SGS highly: “Always approachable, professional and supportive, SGS helps us to improve our business and reduce our costs.

“Ray is always on hand to answer my queries, discuss amendments to our contract or quote for new services.

“Our first integrated audit went well and the two experienced and knowledgeable SGS auditors provided a straightforward, informative, business focused and highly constructive audit.”

Certification benefits

BSS’ ISO 14001-certified EMS has enabled it to: improve its environmental performance (for example by installing light sensors in toilets and low-use areas); monitor and measure its energy consumption, recycling, vehicle mileage and overall CO2 footprint; and report on cost savings by department and across the business.

ISO 20001 has helped BSS to achieve best practice, providing the company with evidence and certainty on the quality of its IT team’s services to both internal and external customers.

ISO 27001 certification, provides clarity and assurance to BSS clients when they are evaluating the breadth and strength of our security practices.

“Certification has brought these and many other benefits,” says Kathy Taylor. “Taken together, we now have more structured and standardised mechanisms and systems, which provide formalised processes and facilitate the sharing of best practice across the organisation. There’s high awareness of standards in our business, with benefits and cost savings published internally, and externally in our Corporate Social Responsibility report.”

Continual improvement

BSS’ certified and integrated management systems will help to drive further improvements, such as planned new mechanisms to monitor the time taken to act on auditors’ identified non-conformities and observations.

As another example, ISO 20001 and ISO 27001 will help BSS’ IT department to meet the company’s service level, business continuity and information security needs.

Certification recommendation

“I would recommend starting with one standard, ideally ISO 9001,” says Kathy Taylor. “This provides a solid base and you can then add more standards if and when your business requires it.”

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