Head of Service Desk


A head of IT service desk is responsible for setting the vision and strategy for service desk management, ensuring processes are owned and maturing. A head of service desk is responsible for managing a team who provides first- and second-line technical support.

At this role level, you will:

  • ensure support of existing and emerging information and communications technology (ICT) services, and provide technical advice to project teams
  • ensure that the support team undertakes development so that they can advise on future projects and current issues
  • manage and monitor service desk service level agreements (SLAs) and performance
  • lead a team, ensuring adequate resources and capacity
  • represent the IT service desk function at a senior level
  • act as an escalation point for business stakeholders
  • evidence specialist knowledge of various methodologies used to manage service desks and an ability to tailor methodologies and management practices
  • display a broad knowledge of techniques and approaches that can be used to deliver value
  • maintain an extensive knowledge of evolving and emerging technologies used to deliver service desks and ability to adapt management practices to those emerging technologies.


Background Components

Description Background
Has a broad understanding of complex technical and business issues. Possesses well-developed management skills, with particular emphasis on strategic/visionary thinking and relationship management. Prior Knowledge and Skills
Has gained expertise in the alignment of performance setting and assessment with organisational goals. Understands processes and procedures of performance management. Manages projects and organises the work of others. Demonstrates a responsible and disciplined approach, even under pressure. Has excellent and developed communication and negotiation skills. Understands the legal and best practice requirements of human resource management. Has a positive attitude towards diversity principles. Prior Knowledge and Skills

Work Activity Components

Title Details
Standards and documentation Specifies, agrees and applies standards. Drafts and maintains policy, standards and procedures for the customer service and/or service desk functions.
Technical briefings and Service Catalogue Ensures that the catalogue of services that can be requested, and that are supported, is complete and current.
Leadership and management Champions the service culture and provides the leadership required to deliver organisational outcomes.
Request handling and customer support Defines service channels, service levels, standards and the monitoring process for customer service or service desk staff.
Log, monitor and report Oversees and monitors overall service provision and customer satisfaction feedback. Provides direction to operational staff to enable and maintain effective service delivery.
Implementation and controls Ensures implementation of information, and records management policies and standard practice, ensuring that information is protected, available and accessible, and can be retrieved as required. Complies with all relevant information and data security policies and procedures.
Lead, manage and supervise Manages, supports and guides the work of groups of staff in line with organisational strategy.
Probationary period and contract Defines and manages probationary periods, setting out the requirements of the job, monitoring progress (e.g., regular interviews) and reacting to variances from expectations, organising training and development as required within appropriate timescales.
Work allocation, support and delegation Allocates responsibilities, including supervisory and assigns packages of work to groups of staff. Ensures that work packages are aligned with the particular skills and abilities of teams. Supports teams in the delivery of work packages. Delegates work to individuals and teams, taking full account of skills and capabilities.
Guidance, performance and feedback Optimises the performance of people, measuring and reporting on performance against agreed quality and performance criteria. Collects data on the performance of groups of staff. Gives regular feedback to teams and senior staff as to team performance on work packages.
Formal appraisals Conducts formal appraisals of the performance of team members. Facilitates a dialogue with team members about expectations, progress, performance and development needs. Participates, as appropriate, in formal processes such as compensation negotiations, grievance procedures, and disciplinary procedures.
Empowerment and role model Facilitates effective working relationships within and between teams of staff. Motivates groups of staff and teams towards a high level of performance. Engages with and empowers groups of staff. Acts as a role model for groups of staff, setting a standard, acting professionally at all times and working to a professional code of conduct and ethics.
Team dynamics Integrates staff into teams to perform packages of work, taking account of individual and team capabilities. Consider the importance of skill mix within teams. Is sensitive towards team dynamics.
Career paths and mentoring Advises individuals on career paths and encourages pro-active development of skills and capabilities. Provides mentoring to support professional development.
People processes Participates, as appropriate, in formal processes such as compensation negotiations and disciplinary procedures.
Transformation and change Manages teams involved in significant transformation projects and/or during times of change, aligning change programmes with staff skills and capabilities. Supports staff, through difficult and challenging change programmes.
Customer relationships and negotiations Develops effective relationships with customers. Negotiates with relevant parties in respect of disruptions and major amendments to the provision of services. Ensures that service level requirements are determined and that service level agreements, contracts and negotiations with customers and underpinning parties are agreed.
Customer service assessment Works with customers to establish a qualitative assessment of the service provision, from the customers’ perspective, and initiates actions for improvement where appropriate.


Knowledge/Skills Components

Title Depth Details Type
Analytical Thinking Acquiring a proper understanding of a problem or situation by breaking it down systematically into its component parts and identifying the relationships between these parts. Selecting the appropriate method/tool to resolve the problem and reflecting critically on the result, so that what is learnt is identified and assimilated. Behavioural Skills
Information Acquisition Identifying gaps in the available information required to understand a problem or situation and devising a means of resolving them. Behavioural Skills
Flexibility Taking account of new information or changed circumstances and/or business requirements and modifying response to a problem or situation accordingly. Behavioural Skills
Decision Making Making decisions at the appropriate time, taking into account the needs of the situation, priorities, constraints, known risks, and the availability of necessary information and resources. Behavioural Skills
Organisational Awareness Understanding the hierarchy and culture of own, customer, supplier and partner organisations and being able to identify the decision makers and influencers. Behavioural Skills
Cross-Functional and Inter-Disciplinary Awareness Understanding the needs, objectives and constraints of those in other disciplines and functions. Behavioural Skills
Interacting with People Establishing relationships, contributing to an open culture and maintaining contacts with people from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Effective, approachable and sensitive communicator in different communities and cultures. Ability to adapt style and approach to meet the needs of different audiences. Behavioural Skills
Influence, Persuasion and Personal Impact Conveying a level of confidence and professionalism when engaging with stakeholders, influencing positively and persuading others to take a specific course of action when not in a position of authority. Behavioural Skills
Teamwork Working collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal. Behavioural Skills
Leadership Clearly articulating goals and objectives and motivating and leading others towards their achievement. Behavioural Skills
Providing Direction Directing others to undertake specified tasks within a defined timescale. Behavioural Skills
Follow-up and Monitoring Checking progress against targets, taking action to resolve exceptions/ issues and reporting and escalating where necessary. Behavioural Skills
Application Systems Proficient in Technical or functional understanding of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) applications and/or other bespoke software deployed within the organisation in order to provide system configuration, audit, technical, and/or functional support. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Database Software Familiar with Software that enables the user to capture, create, populate and manipulate data structures and where appropriate unstructured data. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Networking and Communications Familiar with The planning and management of the interaction between two or more networking systems, computers or other intelligent devices. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Operating Systems Proficient in System software that controls activities such as input, output, dynamic resource allocation, and error reporting, within the operation of a computer configuration. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Corporate, Industry and Professional Standards Proficient in Applying standards, practices, codes, and assessment and certification programmes relevant to the IT industry, and the specific organisation or business domain. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Operational/Service Architecture Proficient in Knowledge of the IT/IS infrastructure and the IT applications and service processes used within own organisation, including those associated with sustainability and efficiency. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Access Control Systems Proficient in Any tool or system which provides security access control (i.e. prevents unauthorised access to systems). Technical Knowledge and Skills
Business Environment Proficient in The business environment relating to own sphere of work (own organisation and/or closely associated organisations, such as customers, suppliers, partners and competitors), in particular those aspects of the business that the specialism is to support (i.e. localised organisational awareness from a technical perspective). Technical Knowledge and Skills
IT Environment Proficient in The IT environment relating to own sphere of work (own organisation and/or closely associated organisations, such as customers, suppliers, partners), in particular own organisation’s technical platforms and those that interface to them through the specialism, including those in closely related organisations. Technical Knowledge and Skills
BYOD Proficient in The policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones etc) to their workplace, and the implications of using those devices to access privileged company information and applications consistent with safeguarding corporate systems and data taking account of security and confidentiality requirements. Also called bring your own technology (BYOT), bring your own phone (BYOP), and bring your own PC (BYOPC). Technical Knowledge and Skills
Incident Management Tools Proficient in Including interrogation of incident database, creation of parent and child incidents, creation of queries to seek trends and use of known error logs/ databases. Technical Knowledge and Skills
Presentation Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques for delivering effective and accessible presentations, either face-to-face or online within various contexts and to a variety of audiences. Other Knowledge and Skills
Appraisal Techniques Proficient in Methods and techniques for appraising an individual’s performance and potential. Other Knowledge and Skills
Budgets Familiar with Principles, methods, techniques and tools for the preparation and monitoring of budgets to manage costs and ensure cost-effectiveness and value for money. Other Knowledge and Skills
Risk Management Proficient in Methods and techniques for the assessment and management of business risk including safety-related risk. Other Knowledge and Skills
Techniques for Effective Meetings Familiar with Methods and techniques for running effective meetings and for understanding and influencing the roles played by participants. Other Knowledge and Skills
Coaching Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques for coaching individuals or groups by a balanced combination of support and direction, including use of virtual learning environments plus add-ons to augment feedback specific to work items, workflow or career plans. Other Knowledge and Skills
Project Planning and Control Techniques Familiar with Methods and techniques associated with planning and monitoring progress of projects. Other Knowledge and Skills
Own Organisation’s Learning and Development Procedures Familiar with The procedures used within own organisation for staff learning and development. Other Knowledge and Skills
Resource Allocation Proficient in The effective and efficient routine deployment of resources, (but also including reassessment and reallocation in a dynamic multi-project environment), to achieve optimum results. Other Knowledge and Skills
Service Delivery Economics Proficient in The economics of service delivery, such as the cost per service line in terms of hardware, software, and manpower used to deliver the service. Other Knowledge and Skills
Service Level Agreements Proficient in The purpose and composition of a service level agreement (SLA); the relationship between an SLA, an OLA (Operational Level Agreement) and an underpinning contract for the supply of services. Other Knowledge and Skills
Performance Monitoring Proficient in Identifying, agreeing and monitoring (usually by face-to-face interviews) objectives and deliverables with individuals. Identifying under-performance issues against agreed quality standards and performance criteria. Identifying gaps in capability and causes, disciplinary or ability-related (needing assistance, training or other support). Other Knowledge and Skills
Disciplinary Issues and Procedures Familiar with Managing episodes of unsatisfactory behaviour or performance in accordance with appropriate policies and legislative conformance. Includes changes to circumstances, such as sickness, disability and other personal issues. Other Knowledge and Skills
Team Dynamics Familiar with Knowledge and understanding of the psychological and environmental forces that influence the direction of team behavior and performance and the tools and techniques to improve team cohesion and performance. Other Knowledge and Skills
Information Assurance Proficient in Information assurance methods, tools and techniques (including the Caldicott Principles) used to protect the integrity, availability, authenticity, non-repudiation and confidentiality of user data and manage the risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information. Other Knowledge and Skills

Training Activities

Training Components

Title Details
Service Delivery The service delivery processes: the systems, products, services, hardware and software environment.
Stakeholder Relationship Management Negotiation, presentation and engagement skills to adapt and address the needs of different stakeholders to develop and maintain strong stakeholder relationships.
Software Configuration Installation, configuration and tuning of applications or systems software.
Coaching Concepts, methods and techniques for providing coaching in subject specialisms to individuals or groups (e.g. GROW model).
Data Protection and GDPR Data protection legislation, regulatory framework and compliance, including GDPR (General Data Protection Act).
Network Infrastructure Architecture The frameworks and principles on which networks, systems, equipment and resources are based.
Service Management Principles, methods and techniques for managing IT services, including the preparation, understanding and use of Service Level Agreements, Operational Level Agreements and underpinning contracts.
Mentoring Methods and techniques for providing mentoring support to less experienced individuals.
Diversity and Inclusion Raise diversity in-the-workplace awareness in order to better understand how the world looks through the eyes of people of a different age, race, gender, sexuality, etc, improve communications with people from diverse backgrounds and reduce the levels of unconscious bias in decision-making.
Security Awareness Tools and techniques to help users and employees understand the role they play in helping to combat information security breaches and for IT and security professionals to prevent and mitigate risk.
Health and Safety Understanding statutory health and safety requirements relating to the working environment and/or the tools and techniques to promote, communicate, implement and maintain a health and safety culture.


PDA Components

Title Details
Deputising Standing in for supervisor or manager on a temporary basis during periods of absence.
Job Shadowing and Special Assignments Undertaking temporary periods or secondments in other roles, inside or outside IT, particularly those that offer a new perspective on own function or exposure to other environments and cultures.
Project Assignments Participating in a project team, working group or task force established to deliver a solution to a specific problem or issue – especially valuable if the group is inter-disciplinary.
Mentoring Acting as a mentor, advising those for whom there is no direct responsibility, on matters to do with their job role, career and professional development.
Research Assignments Exploring a topic which is not part of own normal responsibilities and presenting findings to colleagues and/or management
Gaining Knowledge of Broader IT Issues Increasing and maintaining currency of knowledge of broader IT issues through reading, attending and participating in seminars or conferences, special studies, temporary assignments etc.
Gaining Strategic Knowledge of Employing Organisation Developing a comprehensive understanding of the business environment in which the employing organisation operates and its position, policies and direction in relation to industry, country and global issues.
Participation in Professional Body Affairs Taking an active part in professional body affairs at branch, specialist group, committee or board level.
Negotiating and Influencing Undertaking learning and practice of negotiating with and influencing others.
Management Development Undertaking learning and best practice of the skills appropriate to managing all or part of an organisation, including business and financial management, benefits management, people management, management of change and strategic planning. This will require both on and off the job learning and may include participation in an appropriate development programme such as MBA or DMS (Diploma in Management Studies).
General Management Continuing learning and development in general management skills, such as effective communication, leadership styles and skills, team building and team roles, motivation and delegation, planning and resource scheduling, influencing, persuasion and negotiation, so as to be in a position to accept greater responsibility at senior management or director (including non-exec) level.


Qualification Components

Title Awarding Body
ITIL 4 Specialist Drive Stakeholder Value (Managing Professional Module) AXELOS
ITIL 4 Strategist Direct, Plan and Improve (Managing Professional / Strategic Leader Module) AXELOS
Service Desk Manager Service Desk Institute experience
ITIL 3 Capability Module Operational Support and Analysis (Intermediate) AXELOS
ITIL 3 Lifecycle Module Service Operation (Intermediate) AXELOS
Chartered IT Professional (CITP) BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT
FEDIP Advanced Practitioner FEDIP

Organisation Skills

Framework » Organisation
Category » Subcategory
Skill Name and Description Level
DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Asset and configuration management

You can conduct life cycle management for assets including hardware, software, intellectual property, licences and warranties. You can manage usage, disposal, compliance, inventory, sustainability, cost optimisation and protection of the asset portfolio. You can help to improve investment decisions and capitalise on opportunities. You can comply with international standards for asset management. You can document information relating to assets including identification, classification and specification of all items, and information related to storage, access and versions. You can apply status accounting and auditing in line with relevant criteria.

2 – Working

You can maintain secure configuration and accurate information, controlling IT assets in one or more significant areas. You can verify the location and state of assets.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Continual service improvement

You can identify and explore opportunities for service and business improvement. You can produce analysis and identify, prioritise and implement improvements and efficiencies, ensuring that the organisation derives maximum value from services. You can recognise the potential for automation of processes, determine costs and benefits of new approaches, and manage change or assist implementation where needed.

3 – Practitioner

You can analyse current processes and identify and implement opportunities to optimise them. You can lead and develop a team of experts to deliver service improvements. You can help to evaluate and establish requirements for the implementation of changes by setting policy and standards.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Customer service management

You can manage customer service functions, including responding to issue reports and information and access requests. You can use the results of customer satisfaction measurements to improve services. You can demonstrate a successful relationship with customers.

4 – Expert

You can translate ‘lessons learnt’ from complaint cycles into continual service improvement. You can take responsibility for the full range of customer service functions, including reviewing customer service satisfaction. You can investigate which processes can be automated and the ways to do so.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Ownership and initiative

You can take ownership of problems and proactively resolve technical problems, ensuring that technical solutions continue to meet business requirements. You can take full accountability for the actions taken and decisions made.

3 – Practitioner

You can take accountability for issues that occur and be proactive in searching for potential problems. You can achieve excellent user outcomes.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Problem management

You can understand and identify problems, analysing and helping to identify the appropriate solution. You can classify and prioritise problems, document their causes and implement remedies.

3 – Practitioner

You can ensure that the right actions are taken to investigate, resolve and anticipate problems. You can co- ordinate the team to investigate problems, implement solutions and take preventive measures.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Service focus

You can maintain focus on the whole life of service delivery (designing, developing, delivering and operating). You can ensure that a set of IT products, suppliers and vendors come together to deliver an IT service.

3 – Practitioner

You can see the bigger picture by taking groups of services and investigating how to get the best of underlying services.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Service management framework knowledge

You can show an in-depth understanding of service management framework principles and processes. You can apply the technical knowledge in project or programme activities.

3 – Practitioner

You have an expert certificate in the service management framework qualification.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Service reporting

You can use management information to consolidate agreed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) into product or service measures, to underpin the service management of a specific product or service.

4 – Expert

You can use prediction methodologies to derive and maintain a holistic view of important trends across multiple processes.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Stakeholder relationship management (IT operations)

You can identify, analyse, manage and monitor relationships with and between stakeholders. You can clarify mutual needs and commitments through consultation and consideration of impacts. You can co-ordinate all promotional activities for one or more customers, to achieve satisfaction for the customer and an acceptable return for the supplier. You can assist the customer to ensure that maximum benefit is gained from the products and services supplied.

3 – Practitioner

You can influence stakeholders and manage relationships effectively. You can build long-term strategic relationships. You can facilitate and deliver business outcomes.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – Technical understanding

You can demonstrate knowledge of the specific technologies necessary to fulfil the responsibilities and tasks of the role. You can apply the required breadth and depth of technical knowledge. You can actively keep informed of industry developments to make cost-effective use of new and emerging tools and technologies.

2 – Working

You can understand the core technical concepts related to the role and apply them with guidance.

DDaT » IT Operations Job Family IT Ops – User focus

You can understand users and identify who they are and what their needs are, based on evidence. You can translate user stories and propose design approaches or services to meet these needs. You can engage in meaningful interactions and relationships with users. You can show that you put users first and can manage competing priorities.

4 – Expert

You can give direction on which tools or methods to use. You can demonstrate experience in meeting the needs of users across a variety of channels. You can bring insight and expertise in how user needs have changed over time to ensure they’re met by the business. You can apply strategic thinking to provide the best service for the end user.

This job role profile was created in collaboration with BCS, using Role Model Plus. BCS is the professional body that has the responsibility of updating this job family.

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