Gov Facility Services Ltd – ISO9001 Programme

Achieved ISO9001 Certification by introducing best practice, ensuring the needs of customers and internal stakeholders were met and establishing a robust baseline from which to continually improve.

How we helped...

Gov Facility Services Ltd (GFSL) were keen to adopt a best practice standard to ensure they were able to consistently meet the needs of its customers and internal stakeholders, and that they had a robust baseline from which to continuously improve. With the absence of any policies, processes and procedures in a highly complex and geographically disperse operation, CI Projects were commissioned to lead an ISO9001 programme.

Traditionally the perception of ISO9001 amongst the workforce was that it is a paperwork industry of tick box exercises that is was far removed from real-life business and would result in documents that would gather dust on a shelf. Our focus was to ensure that the programme took a holistic and pragmatic approach to defining the way in which GFSL should operate, considering the organisational context and using language and visual-aids that everyone could understand. We gained engagement from all levels of the organisation so that everyone felt part of the journey rather than feeling like the project was being imposed on them.

The entire programme took 1 year to deliver. During the first quarter of the calendar year, we focussed our efforts on delivering a series of presentations on ISO9001 to build momentum, engagement and raise awareness. We also spent the first quarter on defining the scope of what policies, processes and procedures needed to be developed by each business function. This involved identifying process owners and training them on their roles and the differences between policies, processes and procedures so that they were prepared for the task ahead. We also launched an online platform to house all of GFSL’s documents called OPUS, an in-house Integrated Quality Management System.

By quarter two of the calendar year, we had a clearly defined scope and a fully engaged team geared up to support the programme. Through a series of workshops and meetings we spent the next 6-8 months developing GFSL’s core ways of working. When designing new business processes or re-engineering historic ones, we followed the lean principles and focussed on: customer experience, leadership, employee engagement, process efficiency, relationship management and opportunities for improvement. In parallel with the development of documented procedures we were ensuring the appropriate level of communication and training was being delivered so that the changes landed effectively and ‘stick’.
Finally, in the last quarter, we implemented a robust assurance regime to ensure that any gains were sustained and that processes would be continually reviewed and improved long after our departure. We began engagement with an ISO9001 certification body to undertake a gap analysis against the quality standards so that remedial actions could be undertaken in advance of the formal certification process.
Throughout the programme, we had engagement and buy-in from the Senior Leadership Team who were fundamental in truly achieving best practice.

In March 2021, GFSL successfully achieved  ISO9001:2015 certification, along with a full suite of policies, processes and procedures across all business functions, defining one way of working that was accessible by all staff.

The benefits achieved include;
• A unified and harmonised way of working, previously fragmented geographically across 52 prisons.
• The above benefit unlocked a number of secondary benefits such as increased efficiencies and cost savings. For example, we reduced the process cycle time of the Elective Works process which originally took 37,449 minutes by approximately 80%; and reduced the error rate of payroll transactions from 30% to 1%.
• Historically GFSL were not aware of gaps within processes until there were issues; however by reviewing processes proactively through this programme, it enabled GFSL to fill gaps and improve their process before issues could occur.
• A set of staff-specific policies, procedures and guidelines that everybody could use in their day to day jobs and understand were housed on a single platform
• Better quality of outcomes resulting in an improvement in customer experience, supplier relationships and business performance.

Don Keigher, Change and Transition Director commented:

From a standing start, this is an immense achievement for GFSL – which is just three years old. The pandemic added considerable challenges to the audit programme, but the commitment of our people across our sites and business functions was clear to see right up to the finish line.

Caroline Gregg, Quality Assurance Manager added:

The achievement of ISO 9001 certification represents our vision in building a management system from the ground up. This certificate is recognition of the commitment from across the organisation to establish ways of working that bring value to our customer.

You can read more about this project here: GFSL awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification – GOV.UK (  

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