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The standard acts as a driver for continuous improvement, helping organisations gain greater insight into their customers by improving relationships and building customer facing skills.

Founded in 1982, Sports Leaders UK is an awarding organisation providing nationally recognised leadership qualifications that equip learners in many sectors - including schools, universities and community settings - with the skills and motivation to lead activities.

“We wanted to use the standard as a context for everything we do,” says Michaela Hutchings, Operations Director. “We had systems in place but we needed them to be more robust, and to organise ourselves to be more “customer-centric” in our approach.”

Work towards the standard began in 2010 with SGS involved from the start. “ Our assessor came in to set us on our way and to explain the criteria. He used his experience to help, especially to look at the first criterion (customer insight) before tackling the others. We chose the pre-assessment route to ensure we were on the right track.”

SGS looked at how Sports Leaders UK was currently operating and how they were organised internally. By this, they made suggestions about the approach they could adopt.

“I kept in touch throughout the development process, ”says SGS Auditor, Tom Banks. “Not as a consultant, but by guiding them in ways to approach the assessment process that would match their organisational requirements.”

“We needed the help and support of everyone in the business to make sure we were pulling together the right information,” says Michaela Hutchings. “A dedicated team focused on the five CSE criteria (customer insight, the culture of the organisation, information and access, delivery, timeliness and quality). Each team spearheaded a particular criterion and they engaged with the whole business as they went along.”

Now, with CSE embedded in the organisation, Sports Leaders UK is seeing big improvements, particularly in its three main processes: course applications - which saw improved processing times with registering learners, online processes, and the requesting of learner certificates.

David Anderson, Customer Services Manager, says, “In December 2011 we processed 95% in one week, and 85% of those in 2 days, which pleases customers who no longer have to wait to receive their resources. The improvement has come about through improved customer focus and teamwork.

The culture is changing at Sports Leaders UK as there is now a regional setup, with dedicated members of staff supporting different regions.

“The Customer Service Excellence accreditation has improved our customer offering and this makes us a more credible business.” says Michaela Hutchings “The benefit is that we’re meeting a professional level of customer service which is nationally recognised, and it’s helping us to improve the service we give to our customers.”

SGS Auditor Tom Banks adds, “During the assessment, we found many areas of good practice, including: the ambitious programme to address issues involving the website migration, and channel migration to encourage online transactions; the introduction of day courses for corporate clients, and also the five-year plan and vision document providing an excellent strategic review and the regional re-organisation of central administration.

Sports Leaders UK provides nationally recognised qualifications that equip learners in schools, universities and community settings with the skills and motivation to create and run sporting activities.


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.