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Port Talbot - Local government checks its performance

BVQI have helped make the transition away from a failing third party certification body, a smooth and enjoyable experience. We have been with BVQI since 2003 and it is from experience that we now recommend them to any organisation wanting to improve.
Chris Davies
Quality & Environmental Management Systems Section
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council is one of the largest councils in Wales, UK. The council was not satisfied with its previous  ISO certification body. It complained that the standard of auditors was inconsistent and back office support was often poor. ISO certification is important for the council. It needs to prove its commitment to quality (via ISO 9001) and a responsible approach to the environment (ISO 14001), because its local residents expect a proactive, transparent approach to council management. There are also pressures from central government for local authorities to operate effectively.

SOLUTION

The Council was attracted to BVQI because of its strong experience and reputation with local authorities. BVQI was able to provide a solid auditing platform to help the Council achieve its ISO certification goals. Quality certification gives the Council a good structure to manage its business processes. Environmental certification helps the Council to formalise its commitment to environmental issues. This was done by introducing a structural Risk Based Auditing tool, supported by a specific set of methods, monitoring and reporting. Such an approach, added considerable value to the standard ISO auditing process. Risk Based Auditing (or RBA) is an innovative sector-specific certification approach. It helps an organisation to achieve better financial and performance benefits through certification by focusing on the key areas of risk within the organisation. A single client account administrator was appointed at BVQI. This makes contact easier and helps keep service levels high at all times. The certificates delivered by BVQI to the Council are valid for 3 years, and one of their basic conditions is a yearly audit. Therefore, BVQI has a contract with the Council for 23 auditing days per year. The mission includes surveillance visits and certification auditing.

BENEFITS

The structural Risk Based Auditing tool introduced by BVQI allows clear measurement of key business indicators. It enables future action planning based on risk to the council's activities. It also allows simple tracking of performance and trends over time. The Council feels that the BVQI auditors, through their knowledge, have added value to the Council's services by making them more efficient. The Council noticed a dramatic difference in service levels between BVQI and the previous certification body. The close relationship established by BVQI with the Council has helped it to fulfil its public obligations in regard to quality and the environment.

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> Client: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.

> Client industry: Local Authorities

> Client size:
- Population 134,593 (2002)
- Council employees including teachers and part time staff 9,000 (2003/4).

> Client profile: Neath Port Talbot Borough Council is one of the largest councils in Wales, UK.

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