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Cost saving and wider expertise with HR services at scale

We provide a centralised HR function to five integrated care boards which ensures that better quality and a wider breadth of HR services are provided at a lower cost due to efficiencies at scale.

Background

Due to scarce availability of HR professionals in the general job market and workforce pressures, there are gains for NHS organisations to centralise business support functions. When clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) transitioned to integrated care boards (ICBs), contracts for HR services were transferred over. This also ensured budgets would not soar as the scale of the NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU (MLCSU) guarantees a robust structure of experienced NHS professionals in a variety of fields at a fraction of the cost of establishing those functions internally.

We are delivering HR services at scale to five ICBs – Lancashire and South Cumbria, Cheshire and Merseyside, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, supporting a total of over 2,800 staff.

Action

We provide a full range of at-scale services to the five ICBs for HR advice and guidance, transactional HR, HR administration, workforce systems, employment services, recruitment, job matching, learning and development and equality and inclusion. We also evaluate processes, looking to integrate more technology and automate or digitise simple tasks, for example directly entering details from forms into systems, producing letters and auto contacting relevant people.

As an integrated partner service, we know our clients’ needs and priorities, by learning about their business through and through. That allows us to be proactive, help predict challenges and tasks and help them plan ahead.

To achieve this, we go through a mobilisation period with every new client including:

  • Mobilisation plan with agreed transition period
  • Project plan with changes to current operating models
  • Assigned lead professionals for each at-scale service – HR, recruitment, equality and so on
  • Assigned project manager
  • Communication plan.

Impact

Sourcing HR services at scale delivers many benefits:

  • Cost efficiency compared to employing in-house staff
  • Increased speed of response to HR queries
  • Automation saving time, providing validation and delivering better quality and accuracy
  • Increased agility and capacity by eliminating a single point of failure and covering sicknesses and absences
  • Better resilience through wider access to staff that you wouldn’t have in a single organisation
  • Ability to draw on deeper subject matter expertise for specific projects and asks – a more cost effective way to access specialised knowledge, for example a recruitment expert, an equality expert, a workforce planner
  • Professional support, learning and sharing, helping to develop HR and organisational development (OD) staff
  • Inbuilt professional network pool of knowledge and experience
  • Reduced overheads for the client – getting better deals on software, licensing and contracts because of buying in bulk
  • Flexibility to stretch to demand and support time-sensitive projects
  • Better HR support to staff through accessing a wider range of professionals.