St Helens journey to ITIL

St. Helens Council began its journey back in 2000, since then the council has become a well established ITIL good practice environment. The service management processes helped the council on the road to achieving ISO/IEC20000 (BS 15000) certification.


Contributed by itSMF

At a glance

St. Helens is responsible for 179,000 residents and approximately 8,500 employees. IT is part of the finance division which lies within the chief executives department with around 60 staff split between development and operations units with their own internal IT trainers.

St. Helens Council adopted ITIL to provide them with a unified way of applying IT to the organisation.

During 2005 and 2006, benefits include that the number of service desk calls handled within the agreed targets has increased from 92% to 96%.

By being firm adopters of ITIL, the council became one of the first IT sections in a local authority to achieve ISO/IEC20000 certification. Achieving ISO/IEC20000 status elevates the IT sections professionalism within the council and unifies the section around a single purpose.

When I took over as IT manager in 2003, St. Helens was not implementing service management using any formal process.

St. Helens had a huge programme of work to deliver under the Implementing Electronic Government (IEG) programme. The council was about to decommission its central mainframe and this had to be managed within a properly controlled framework. We needed to ensure that a consistent approach to IT delivery would be applied to achieve these goals. ITIL was identified as the perfect vehicle to achieve this.

The council adopted a performance management framework (PMF) which all departments in the authority work within. This system was short listed for the itSMF Project of the Year Awards in 2004. ITIL was seen to compliment this system and the way the IT department wanted to work to achieve their ultimate goals.

ITIL was seen as so important that all IT staff were trained to foundation level with others having undertaken the practitioner, or service manager certificate training. All best practice components making up ITIL and the ISO/IEC20000 standard are in operation.

Bringing the staff on board was difficult at first, as IT had to get them to understand why ITIL was being used. For many people it was not immediately obvious what the benefits would be but as everyone started to follow the same methods in service support and delivery, the staff came on board. The introduction of the Infra Service Desk really helped to pull things together as all of the council’s employees were exposed to it in one way or another.

IT was able to embed ITIL by involving everyone at every stage, and restructuring the IT section allowed redefinition of the processes. A further step was to make individual team and project leaders the key people who would control and deliver the best practice through their own team allocations. This worked well in areas like the new service desk, configuration, change, financial and ITSCM management.

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