Nottingham Trent University

NTU - Student Services Centre

Case Study

The Student Services Centre (SSC) at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) is the one-stop shop for general enquiries and gateway to Student Support Services. We have SSC Advisers at all three campuses, who can provide card services, enrolment support, information and guidance on all student matters. We refer and direct students to specialist support services including Health & Wellbeing, Disability Support, Financial Support and International Student Support.

With commitment to delivering high-quality services to all customers including NTU staff member and students, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. CSE has proven an effective tool for our self-assessment and continuous improvement and we successfully hold Customer Service Excellence certification since 2011.

We Chose Customer Service Excellence Standard

The Student Services Centre is committed to providing a high-quality service in a friendly customer focused environment. Customer Service Excellence provides us with a practical tool to access and monitor our performance on a regular basis while focus on continuous improvement and delivering customer-focused services, which is associated with our corporate culture, goals and commitment.

We Chose Assessment Services for our Certification

Assessment Services Ltd is an international assessment centre with more than 30 years of experience in assessment and accreditation, whose Assessors have achieved the SFEDI Assessor qualification. We have been working with Assessment Services since 2011 and we are satisfied with their assessment process which adds value to our department. We have found Assessment Services to be responsive, professional and supportive.

How we prepared for our Assessment

Every year, a new current student at Nottingham Trent University is recruited for a 12-month placement at the Student Services Centre as our Customer Satisfaction & Project Assistant (CSPA) who coordinates our customer satisfaction programmes and CSE assessment process. Our CSPA has a weekly meeting with the SSC manager to discuss each CSE standard from the beginning of the academic year. We look at the previous Assessment Report to identify the areas of improvement and plan for new changes and projects and start inputting the evidence. CSE standards are used as our drivers of change throughout the year, not only a tool for assessment of our services.

Our Learning Points


Each team member should contribute their good work into the CSE submission, which requires regular self-reflection and continuing learning & development.


CSE standards should be discussed at team meeting to encourage everyone get involved from the beginning of the academic year.

How the certification has impacted our customer service

The Customer Service Excellence Standard allows us to self-assess our capability and our performance throughout the academic year, to make sure we are committed with our service standards and identify area of continuous improvement. CSE is designed to encourage us to drive changes and improve services based on an in-depth understanding of our customers and customers’ feedback. This has led to higher customer satisfaction and positive changes we have made at Student Services Centre across 3 campuses. At City, we have made major structural changes to the Front Desk configuration for better engagement with students while also providing more confidential spaces. With the Front Desk + initiative, SSC staff are providing a more personalised and 1 to 1 service when students are distressed or in discomfort. The new Student Services Centre at Clifton offers students a wide range of services and a modern, friendly space right in central location of campus.

SSC staff are encouraged to actively promote and participate in the customer focused culture of the department by getting involved in the assessment process for CSE. SSC staff have regularly reflected on the training program they have taken to deliver better customer services and exchanged knowledge and experience in dealing with difficult situations.

We are hapy with our experience with Assessment Services Ltd who offer timely support and professional services.

Head of Student Services Centre, NTU Tweet
Read More

Goldsmith’s, University of London

Goldsmiths, University of London

Case Study

The Student Experience Directorate at Goldsmiths, University of London has been working with Excellence Squared / Assessment Services for the last three years. We have been very impressed with the service and support that they have been able to offer us, from initial advice and guidance, a thorough pre-assessment process and regular catch up meetings right through to the on-site assessment stages of the accreditations that we eventually gained.

We undertook two awards simultaneously, those of Customer Service Excellence and the Leadership and Management accreditation, and advice and support from our two assessors, Graham and Lorna respectively was always very joined up and appropriate for the dual award approach. In effect they allowed and enabled us to achieve far more than we had originally set out to do by guiding us through the two awards simultaneously and the dual framework approach has really paid dividends in respect of the culture change that we have been able to achieve at Goldsmiths in such a short space of time.

Assessment Services ensured that our assessors were technically expert and knowledgeable about our business and they brought a high level of understanding and awareness of what we were trying to achieve, into our assessment process. Graham and Lorna themselves demonstrated excellent customer service and attention to detail throughout the process and their assessment approach was thorough and fair and ensured that we were challenged throughout and that as an organisation we developed and improved from the process.

I would happily recommend Assessment Services to other organisations seeking to develop and improve in their leadership and management cultures and approaches to customer service.


Director of Library Services

Library Services (Student Experience Directorate)
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross, London, SE14 6NW

Read More

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council achieves the CSE standard

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Capture The Moment

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Sports Services Unit has been recognised for its excellent standard of customer service after achieving the Cabinet Office’s prestigious, Customer Services Excellence Award.

The award was presented in recognition of the Unit’s customer focused service and commitment to continuous improvement, following a formal three day assessment against extensive pre-set criteria.  This included customer insights, organisation culture, information & access, delivery of service and timeliness & quality of service.

The accolade was obtained for Sport Service’s nine service areas, making it the largest Local Authority Unit in Northern Ireland to achieve the award.  Facilities and services encompassed within the Unit include Lagan Valley LeisurePlex, Dundonald International Ice Bowl, Lough Moss Leisure Centre, Castlereagh Hills Golf Course, Aberdelghy Golf Course, Glenm….

Read More

Walsall College – Case Study

Walsall College

Case Study

Walsall College’s Careers Guidance Service is free and available to all students and prospective students.  Students and prospective students can access the Careers Guidance Service in many different ways i.e. by telephone, face to face and e-guidance. There is also a dedicated Careers Centre located on the ground floor in the Atrium where we operate a Quick Queries Drop-in service for current students on a daily basis. The college provides an extensive vocational provision for students aged from 14 years old and over to no upper age limit.

The Senior Management and Curriculum team are all fully aware of the Careers Guidance Service and curriculum staff actively encourage students to attend or take part in activities or refer students to the Careers Team for further support, when they have surpassed their expertise.


A Whole College Approach

The Careers Team previously delivered a series of events for students “we used to deliver events we believed were useful for students”, but they found that attendance was decreasing and wanted to find a way of ensuring what they were doing was actually meeting the needs of students. At the time, there was a framework of young people’s careers IAG that was used to help frame the offer. Starting with asking curriculum areas to identify the activities they were already undertaking in their area, a gap analysis identified the gaps in provision – it was these gaps, rather than perceived need, that led to Partnership Agreements being developed with each curriculum area. Partnership Agreements ensure that the support provided is tailored to each curriculum area and recognises the role of both the Careers Team and curriculum area; staff described how this has helped to raise the profile of the Team and curriculum based staff, who have an expertise in their own area, know when to refer to specialist careers support.

Careers education is everyone’s job, not just the Careers Department

As a result of the gap analysis and implementation of the Partnership Agreements, the team found that the activities they were delivering were more relevant to students, it reduced duplication and increased the attendance at those events that were held.  Another change was to move from a ‘satisfaction’ based evaluation model, to one where the impact on students was measured, for example how events helped to make informed decisions, greater awareness of options etc.  The College also report an increase in applications to higher education and positive destinations.  The Partnership Agreements have continued to develop with discussions now taking place with Curriculum Leaders Managers who are responsible for single vocational areas, rather than Head of Cluster Managers who oversee a number of different areas, ensuring that the CEIAG offer is even more tailored.

Using Quality Benchmarks

As identified above, the team have sought to use different quality frameworks to develop their work, such as the Careers Education Framework (CEG) 7 – 19 and now work with both The matrix Standard, one of the Quality in Careers Standards, and the Gatsby Benchmarks for Good Careers Guidance.

“The matrix Standard is for all our IAG, all aspects across the College – it helps to inform our staff throughout the student journey from initial contact through to progression. The Quality in Careers Standard highlights the specific work of the Careers Team and is recognised by schools. Using the standards gives credibility of the service; having an external, impartial view helps to verify the good service we offer and gives us suggestions of areas to continue to develop. We really do have the students’ best interests at heart, we are impartial, and if that means them not coming here – then so be it”

- Carol Egan, Director of Student Journey Tweet
Read More

Families First Quality Award gains new assessment body

The Families First Quality Award is an established national quality assurance and improvement framework designed to help organisations demonstrate excellence in helping families. Assessment Services Ltd has recently been appointed by the Family and Childcare Trust to undertake the assessments against the framework on its behalf.

Frameworks are available for children’s centres, Family Information Services and schools, produced by the Family and Childcare Trust and Suffolk County Council.

Kathy Leahy, Managing Director of Assessment Services said: 

We are delighted to take on the Families First Quality Award into our ‘family’ of quality standards. We see the value that the Standard can bring to organisations and we will be working closely with the current assessors and the sector to maintain its relevance to the valuable work undertaken

- Kathy Leahy, Managing Director Tweet

Megan Jarvie of the Families and Childcare Trust said:

We are pleased the Family First Quality Award has found such a good new home at Assessment Services Ltd. We are confident that their expertise in providing other standards will allow the high-quality Families First Quality Award to grow from strength to strength in supporting schools, children’s centres and Family Information Services to put families at the heart of their work.

Suffolk County Council and the Family and Childcare Trust developed the Family First Quality Award for Schools as part of Suffolk’s Raising the Bar Programme. It can help schools engage parents in their children’s learning and development. There are standards for Schools, and an additional set of Standards to help them meet the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, said: 

The Families First Quality Award recognises the excellent work schools, children’s centres and local authority Family Information Services do to provide support, advice and assistance to families. Staff from both organisations designed this successful national accreditation and I am pleased it will now be operated by Assessment Services Ltd; an established company highly respected in the field of quality assurance.


Assessment Services Ltd

a ‘boutique’ assessment centre with over 20 years of experience in assessment and accreditation.

We are committed to ensuring our assessment process adds value to organisations being accredited by Assessment Services. Our philosophy is; 

‘We Care…We Assess…We Add Value.’

We are the sole provider for two Government Standards; the matrix Standard and the Merlin Standard.  We are also part of only four assessment centres assessing for the Customer Service Excellence Standard.  In addition to this, we also assess a range of standards in different industry sectors as well as deliver SFEDI Qualifications, including the Service Champion Level 5 Programme.

Families and Childcare Trust 

Working to make the UK a better place for families by bringing together what we learn from our on the ground parent-led programmes and our research to campaign for solutions that parents want and need. We focus on childcare and early years to make a difference to families’ lives now and in the long term.

Suffolk County Council’s “Raising the Bar”

Raising the Bar is Suffolk’s programme to improve levels of educational attainment across the county. The number of Suffolk schools being judged good or outstanding by Ofsted continues to be high at 87%, but there is still more work to be done.

By working together with education providers, families, communities and businesses, Raising the Bar will ensure that every child can achieve their full potential, build a strong reputation for Suffolk education and deliver wider benefits for the county and its economy.

Read More

Midland Heart and Customer Service Excellence

Midland Heart and Customer Service Excellence

This case study shows how an organisation can develop a strategy at the corporate level and then make the strategy operational so that the customer experience is enhanced and improved. Midland Heart are a leading housing organisation in England, delivering homes and services across the Midlands that enable people to live independently. They have 33,000 properties that provide homes for people from different backgrounds.

To read further on how Midland Heart benefitted from Customer Service Excellence download the case study…

Read More

Selby College matrix Reaccreditation

After successfully holding the matrix Standard since 2004, Selby College have once again been successful in their reaccreditation.  They have maintained their high standards of information, advice and guidance through continual improvement and monitoring focussing on leadership and management.

Matrixduo1 MatrixRobHelen

Key comments from Assessment Services assessor, Susan Smith were, ‘Key strengths in leadership of an effective and supportive IAG service throughout the college – a sense of mission and purpose is evident across the whole of Selby College such that students are offered a consistent service that meets their needs. Staff comment that despite the challenging agenda, the leadership and management in the College helps them to retain their focus on providing impartial support that achieves agreed student outcomes.’


Read More

London Ambitions: Shaping a Careers Offer for Every Young Londoner

London Ambitions: Shaping a Careers Offer for Every Young Londoner – Next Step Plans Webinar

Monday 9th May 2016 at 2pm

Presented by Dr. Deirdre Hughes, OBE


Join us for our 1 hour webinar presented by Dr. Deirdre Hughes, OBE which is designed to bring those interested in IAG developments fully up-to-date with the latest implementation plans underway across London in shaping a new careers offer for young people.  It is recommended participants read this report, published in June 2015, in advance of the webinar. Download: 

Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE will be hosting the webinar. 

By the end of the 1 hour webinar, participants will have:

1. Reviewed the key steps being taken to implement the 7 key elements and London Careers Curriculum

2. Considered its implications for quality standards in careers work across schools, colleges, universities and other local community settings

3. Reflected on the evidence-base underpinning this work and how this can be applied in IAG practice

4. Shared ideas on effective ways to implement a high impact careers IAG strategy.

Limited spaces so book now to avoid disappointment!

Read More

The matrix Standard assessment described by Rising Star (Zenith People)

Angela Anderson, Managing Director of Rising Star (Zenith People) describes her expectations of the matrix assessment, benefits and their next steps. Rising Star, sister brand of Zenith People, is a recruitment business totally focussed on helping young people find employment. Whatever your career aspirations and whatever your starting point, we’ll help you map out the steps you need to take to achieve your employment goals.
Read More
Skip to content