NHS Arden & Greater East Midlands achieve Certification

Posted on Friday 2 June 2023.


NHS Arden & GEM Service Desk have a team of around 100 staff, managing an NHS IT helpdesk across 5 Counties, supporting approx. 45,000 users.  Arden & GEM have a strong background and passion for integrated working across the social care, voluntary, community and health sector.

With an NHS pedigree and a portfolio of work underpinned by rigorous, industry leading governance frameworks and quality standards, they help navigate barriers to change and implementation challenges.


Why was it time to start Service Desk Certification (SDC) with SDI?

Our team have been through a huge service transformation over the past 2 years, being committed to continual service improvement, the IT senior leadership team felt becoming an accredited desk would deliver both internal and external benefits.  Internally providing an opportunity to further improve staff engagement and communication – as well as providing greater opportunities for progression.  Externally, it provides independent validation of our service and peace of mind for existing and potential clients.

We undertook an options appraisal which resulted in the decision to take the Service Desk Certification route.

“We believe the accreditation process has also added significant value for our customers, by demonstrating the value and expertise we add and improving the quality of service and, most importantly, the overall user experience for front-line NHS staff and the patients they look after.”


The Goal

We started our options appraisal in Autumn 2021 with our SDI Assessment in April 2022, and full Assessment in March 2023.  Our main goal was to learn where our gaps were so we could identify areas for continual improvement.  We were hoping for a level 2 Certification so we were over the moon and so proud to be awarded a 3 star.

Key changes being made as a result of the SDC programme

Processes were in place, however more work was required to ensure they were delivered with consistency across our entire operation.  We have made a real effort to ensure from now on our processes are documented, approved, regularly reviewed and embedded across our teams.  It is an ongoing effort due to the size of the team and geographical spread but it is an area we are committed to continuing to improve.  We are also focussing over the next 12 months on staff development, Knowledge and Problem Management as key areas.

Benefits noticed as a result of the SDC Programme

“One of the biggest benefits we have seen is staff morale.  Staff are now more engaged with the service and organisation. We are seeing staff want to develop and move on within the organisation, which is fantastic!”

We see staff put themselves forward to get involved in our internal projects, such as ITSM replacement and telephony system replacement.

“We have also seen our performance metrics improve.  Our first time fix in one area went from approx. 40% to over 85% consistently and we meet our primary KPIs across all of our customer areas.  We are now focussing on improving our post event feedback returns so we can better assess customer satisfaction.”


The ’Service Desk’ Challenge

Our biggest challenge was engaging all of the operational teams. Because it is the ‘Service Desk’ Institute, some of our other teams felt it didn’t involve them.  We worked hard to bring them in on the journey so they understood this is about maturity of our whole organisation and operational services.

Achieving 3 Star Certification

I would definitely recommend SDC to other similar IT Services. It is a fantastic opportunity to really have a good look at how you work and where you are actually focussing your efforts.  It’s a lot of hard work, but it is worth it. When we started off, we were hoping to achieve a level 2 rating after the audit, but at one point, we thought we might not reach that.  Our philosophy was that if we didn’t achieve Certification in the first year, we would still have taken a lot of learning from the experience.  So to be awarded and achieve a level 3 was such a proud moment not only for the leadership team but for the whole team (there may have been a little tear shed too! )

“We have some fantastic staff within the team that have really engaged with the development, improvement and maturity of our service.  I am really proud of the changes within the team, it feels like a completely different team to the one I joined 2 years ago and I am supremely proud of them all.  We have some real crackers!”


With thanks to Andrea Slater, Head of Service Delivery, NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit.


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