Ministry of Justice

Team empowerment in an SLA driven environment - for now and the future

DNA definitive works with the NOMS Contact Centre team and believes compliance, efficiency, cost-savings and staff happiness are not mutually exclusive


Client: Ministry of Justice
Department: National Offender Management Service (NOMS) Contact Centre
Timescale: September 2013 - May 2014


The Background

The Ministry of Justice operates a dedicated service centre from offices in South Wales. Three service driven departments exist at the location, working alongside each other, supplying vital support for the needs of a 1200 strong workforce based over 4 locations. Services include HR, Finance Advice, Payroll Support and Legal.

With varying degrees of Service Level Agreements in place, the need for continual information sharing throughout the entire division, increasing volumes and types of services offered, each department faces its own challenges when it comes to compliance, efficiency and staff morale.

The Ministry of Justice is dedicated to continual service delivery improvement and efficient customer response at all times. The guidelines for each department are clear, and customer service satisfaction is at the heart of all targets and expectations set. As a progressive employer the MoJ contracted DNA Definitive to look at areas where management and delivery improvements could be made, whilst empowering staff and increasing employee job satisfaction.


The Challenges

Caroline, a Service Area Manager has headed up the contact centre for the NOMS division for three years, with a total of 6 years working for the Ministry of Justice. Her team of one hundred staff respond to the daily needs of the prison services employees across the UK. The setting of tasks and targets has always been clearly identified for the team and were continually referred to when assessing division success and customer satisfaction levels.

Targets for the team included:

  • Approximately 200 pieces of work to be completed by each team member each day
  • 3 day Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place — each customer query (email or telephone) to be responded to and dealt with within 3 working days
  • Customer Surveys are sent out each week — Customer Satisfaction Score target set at 80%
  • Calls to be answered within 2 minutes and a 90% achievement record each month
  • Work in Progress (WiP) list to be reduced in size, considerably — continually at over 200 backlog queries to be dealt with on an ongoing basis.

The reality was that although staff were all performing well and with speed, the Work in Progress list wasn’t being dealt with fast enough due to the volume of new queries coming in on a daily basis, staff were being regularly asked to work overtime to deal with the backlog, increasing costs, and customer satisfaction surveys revealed that scores continually came in between 70-80%, below the target. In addition staff morale was low, and without the incentive options of a commercial contact centre environment, it was becoming increasingly difficult for Caroline to motivate and inspire her team.


The Solution

DNA Definitive met with Caroline and her team and discussed the challenges they were facing, together and as individuals. They encouraged input and feedback on a group basis, and also held separate sessions with each team member over a period of two weeks. As part of these sessions they discussed things like removing targets, WIP posters, moving more experienced staff to sit by less experienced staff, having a floor walker to instantly deal with problems from customers etc. The biggest issue was, however, stopping Team Leaders from producing daily and hourly statistics on each member’s performance.

Caroline said:

“I have to be honest and say I was skeptical about the proposed changes at first. My team was already under pressure to deliver in the time they had available, and they kept being asked to engage with DNA and spent many hours talking with them and receiving coaching.”

Within two weeks the team began to make some of their own decisions about the best way to approach the challenges they were facing. They began to question everything and asked themselves what they were doing, why they were doing it and what they could do to change it. The staff began to feel empowered and as if they really could effect changes that would make a significant and sustainable difference.

As the division of experience across the team was often unevenly stretched and training less experienced staff had become difficult to fit into the working day, the team came up with the idea of a daily floor-walker. This meant that at any one time there was an experienced person available to support the more junior members throughout the day, and could respond to queries on the fly as needed.


The Impact

In addition to a happier, more empowered workforce the number results also speak volumes:

  • For the first time the three day SLA target is being met regularly, in some cases volumes of queries are answered within 1-2 working days
  • The Work in Progress list of outstanding queries has been reduced from 550 to 80
  • Customer Satisfaction Scores (from the weekly surveys) are now consistently 90% and above
  • A significant increase in calls are being dealt with at first resolution level (with Floor Walker assistance support)
  • No overtime has been worked since 1st November 2013.
  • The staff are happier and more fulfilled.


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