The Munster Regional Communications Centre (MRCC) is part of a national network of fire service mobilisation and communications centres. Handling over 30,000 emergency calls per year, the MRCC provides emergency call-taking and mobilisation services for 10 Local Authority Fire Services in the Munster Region and for Limerick Marine Search and Rescue. MRCC’s top management decided to implement a recognised internal system for quality to address a variety of needs, including more formalised control of their operational activities to ensure consistency and transparency and proof of quality of their service and performance to external stakeholders. ISO 9001, the international standard for quality management systems (QMS), was chosen by MRCC as the most appropriate standard to address these needs. After an extensive tender process, we were selected by Limerick City Council to provide guidance and consultancy to the MRCC in the implementation of a formal QMS based on the requirements of ISO 9001 and to lead the organisation on the path to certification.
Our consultants worked closely with the top management of MRCC and their project team throughout the project providing practical support and advice. We analysed the existing systems in the MRCC and identified their gaps against the requirements of ISO 9001. Under our guidance, MRCC developed a Quality Policy and defined the strategic direction and goals of the new management programme. We also developed and delivered QMS awareness training for all staff, enabling their buy-in and participation throughout the project. All the mandatory ISO 9001 documentation was generated and the already existing system elements were integrated into the new QMS. We trained MRCC’s internal QMS audit team allowing them to continue the continual improvement of the system and supported the development of their main processes and a formal Quality Manual.
The MRCC system was awarded certification to the internationally recognised ISO 9001 quality standard by the National Standards Authority of Ireland in 2005. The Centre has successfully maintained this certification and continues to improve its QMS. Our work has helped MRCC to continually improve their performance in managing emergency fire response and to demonstrate the quality of its service to customers and other stakeholders. The project has been particularly important for the organisation in giving credibility to their internal systems. In 2006 the Centre’s quality management project was nominated for the European UDITE award for performance improvement (UDITE is a professional networking organisation for local government chief executives across Europe). Following an intensive national and European audit process the project finally finished in the top four UDITE European projects. The project was also presented at the LGMSB’s Excellence in Public Service conference in Dublin in 2006. ‘Antaris provided guidance and support during MRCC’s quest to achieve certification to the ISO 9001 quality standard in 2005. They played a critical part towards the implementation of the standard, training, correlation of documentation, policies and manuals and our continued success with subsequent certification.’
Alison Morris, Quality Management Representative, Munster Regional Communications Centre