Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has recently gone live with a new service to enhance its employee relations case management, it says.
That's in the shape of ER Tracker from Software Europe enables the Trust to better analyse its case load for trends and blockages in progress, improve speed and quality of reporting to managers and employees, make compliance with policy and Freedom of Information requests (FOI) easier, and enable greater communication on cases between its team members.
“ER Tracker will be in use by around 10 employee relations case workers but extending out to further people in our wider HR department,” says Jo Fanning, Head of Employee Relations, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “We’ll be using it for managing a range of case types such as sickness, absence, disciplinary and grievance.”
The Trust currently uses an Excel spreadsheet to track around 1,200 cases per year with the large proportion related to sickness and absence, along with informal queries. However, the Excel spreadsheet can only be accessed consecutively, by one case worker at a time, to reduce duplication and errors. “It is almost impossible for us to use it for creating reports without significant manual intervention,” comments Fanning.
The new service is designed to enable the team to more easily analyse data and identify case blockages that might lead to delays – with ER Tracker providing timescales and overdue flags for common steps within a case.
The service should also enable the employee relations team to analyse other data in the system, such as number of cases live in a period of time, trends in cases, types of case, etc. to really scrutinise case progress and help the Trust to improve its performance.
The service can also be used to automate reporting too. As such, the HR team will be able to provide more information to the wider organisation and third-parties. Similarly, it's been designed to help with compliance by enabling the team to more quickly respond to FOI requests for information relating to ethnicity and gender for equality monitoring, for example. Plus, the service can be used to demonstrate that the team has used appropriate models for case handling - to a professional board or barring service.
“We liked ER Tracker because it doesn’t require lots of training,” says Fanning. “The implementation period is quite short; it is simple enough that we can set it up and maintain ourselves. We carried out some configuration work to make the system more meaningful to us, such as inputting the timescales relevant to our processes and policy. We received support from Software Europe to do this.
“The system should give us ease of reporting, ease of access for everyone in the team to get the latest updates on a case, and therefore respond appropriately to managers and staff. Also, it will improve our ability to access information to support how we learn from and review cases better.”
Fanning concludes: “For our employees, the main benefit will be improvements to processes. If we can help spot delays and blockages in our processes, it should help us to improve the timescales and communication with all parties.”
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