Consultant Zone

The importance of external, independent quality control

Internal quality control (QC) allows organisations to monitor how they interact with their customers and to ensure that their objectives in achieving compliance with law, regulations and policies, operational effectiveness and efficiency are being met. In particular, financial services companies have significantly increased their resources in recent years, mainly driven by the necessity to ensure compliance with an ever changing regulatory environment.

Whilst no one doubts the motivation for having robust internal QC systems and the important role that they fulfil, the question has been asked as to how independent these processes really are? Typically, staff who carry out these internal functions for an organisation are monitoring the performance, actions, and decisions of fellow colleagues. Whilst not doubting the professionalism of those people, it is difficult to see how they can remain totally independent and objective when reporting on the performance of colleagues and potentially friends. As one CEO was heard to quote recently “don’t they all end up at the same Christmas Party?”

In addition, those individuals who work in the internal QC areas can suffer from the mundaneness of the role as they spend the majority of their time listening to recorded telephone calls with customers, checking documentation on files and assessing and reporting on events/decisions that have already taken place. Whilst internal QC is a great and productive training ground for bright and ambitious individuals, it is not one that will necessarily keep these types of individuals motivated and fulfilled in the future.

The question then is…. How do you ensure that your internal QC procedures remain effective and relevant in the longer term?

We at Rockstead believe we have the answer to this important question. We offer a totally independent, external QC monitoring system to financial services companies in Ireland and the UK. We work with and support the work being done by the client’s internal functions. We currently supply these services to banks, insurance and utility companies by monitoring outbound and inbound telephone calls made and received by them. The system we use is extremely flexible and allows us to monitor exactly what the company requires on a real time basis. Typically, we will monitor telephone calls made on the same day and will report on a weekly/monthly basis to the client. However, where important information comes to light i.e. serious compliance breach or data protection issues, we will bring these to the attention of the client on the day they occur.

We employ experienced, qualified Irish based staff to carry out this important work. These staff can be based in the client’s offices or off site. The terms of the contracts vary, with some clients requiring ongoing support to supplement their internal QC function and others opting for bi monthly or six monthly monitoring to ensure that they are extracting maximum value from their internal control processes.

The feedback from clients has been very positive and we are expecting to expand our services in this growing area in the years ahead. And NO, Rockstead does not allow any of our employees to attend the client’s Christmas Party!