There is a growing trend in organisations relying on outsourced service providers (OSPs) to deliver (often key) elements of their overall service. When you surrender service activities, how can you be certain that your OSPs are operating to the standards you require? This can be of particular concern where the outsourcing organisation is a regulated entity as regulatory authorities demand that certain standards of practice are maintained.
There are many things that you should or could be doing to ensure that OSP performances do not put your service levels at risk. For this blog post we have assumed you know who your OSPs are and we have picked what we consider to be the ten most important measures that will allow you to quickly assess how your outsourced arrangements are standing up against expected behaviour.
- Before appointing an OSP, conduct your own careful due diligence on the service providers being considered – we recommend using an industry standard Due Diligence Questionnaire. Continue to do due diligence throughout the relationship.
- Put a formal written contract in place with the chosen service provider and ensure that it has the approval of the Board / Governing Body and review it periodically.
- Be clear about the levels of service and standards that need to be achieved and establish the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Be sure to document these in any Service Level Agreements you put in place with your OSP.
- Put one person in charge of the relationship with the OSP.
- Monitor your service providers on a regular basis against the agreed levels of service and standards.
- Conduct periodic reviews of service providers’ operations and processes.
- Review your service providers’ business continuity plans, data back-up procedures and data protection arrangements to ensure they are appropriate.
- Put a plan in place for responding to a service provider suffering a disruption to their business.
- Maintain awareness of alternative service providers who can provide the same service.
- Retain a reasonable level of the skills and expertise required to carry out the outsourced activity or function in-house, in case the need ever arises for you to take back the activity.
The CalQRisk knowledgebase includes many more questions that will help you to assess how your outsourced activities are being managed. Click here to learn more about how CalQRisk can assist with Vendor Due Diligence.
Good guidance stems from a robust policy. If you would like to receive an example of an Outsourcing Policy to get you on the road to better outsourcing, click here.