The 5 Borough Partnership (5BP) NHS Foundation Trust has adopted cloud technology in a bid to revolutionise the way it manages employee relations cases.
The Trust is based in Warrington and originally provided mental health services to the area but has now expanded to include a community provider arm, in-patient services and general health services.
It currently outsources much of its IT to the local acute Trust – this includes the technology helpdesk.
24N caught up with Damian Byrne, head of workforce planning, information and resourcing at 5BP, and HR advisor Kate Milner to learn more about how the cloud is being used within the organisation.
Milner explained that prior to adopting the new cloud-based solution for dealing with employee case management for situations such as disciplinary, grievance and respect at work, her team used a very ineffective system of spreadsheets.
“Our previous system of recording employees relations case was antiquated, difficult to maintain, and difficult to use for report creation,” she said.
“We used to have to access our spreadsheets consecutively so we didn’t create conflicting versions, but this made delays so the data wasn’t always up to date at the moment when it’s needed.
“Sorting the data to present a different view was a challenge – the function is open to error and frequent manual corrections were needed. Creating our weekly report for the HR director involved summarising all of the spreadsheets into a single concise document,” she added.
Milner also noted that many of the problems were rooted in the fact that Microsoft Excel was simply not built to be used as a shared workbook in the manner in which 5BP was using it.
With these issues in mind, the Trust set out to find a new solution which was much more suited to their needs – it didn’t necessarily need to be in the cloud.
However, Byrne told 24N that he had been keeping a keen eye on developments in the area and after being invited to Software Europe’s ER Tracker demo, he was really impressed.
“Using spreadsheets for case management is very common in the NHS, some trusts might use adapted IT systems or other case management systems designed for other industries,” he explained.
“ER Tracker is the first system we have seen which is designed specifically for the public sector and fully customisable to the requirements of the Trust,” Byrne added.
5BP Trust went live with its ER Tracker employee case management system in October last year and has since seen many benefits.
The “log” – the collection of seven shared Microsoft Excel spreadsheets which were used to manage up to 60 employee cases – is now gone, replaced with the cloud software.
The HR team can now access the system simultaneously, allowing them to update cases at any time of the day with no need to wait for colleagues to finish.
The nature of the cloud also allows the system to be accessed remotely and now the Trust is seeing cases updated in a timely manner.
ER Tracker also comes with director dashboards for cases in the system which provides real-time information on the number of cases running on time or overdue.
Authorised users can log in to the system at any time and export specific reports to demonstrate progress, current status and outcomes of cases.
Time has been saved when it comes to answering compliance questions with the new system as a press of a button can very easily split data to create the report.