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NHS trust uses case management software to deliver time savings

To deal with inefficient and unreliable processes, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust has implemented a case management system specifically designed for HR practitioners

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust (ESNEFT) has implemented cloud-based case management technology to remove manual data entry and generate time savings across its human resources (HR) department.

Formed in 2018 through the merger of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust and Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, ESNEFT is the largest NHS organisation in the East of England, with about 10,000 employees across its hospitals, local clinics and community services.  

To manage staff, ESNEFT’s employee relations (ER) team used to track and log ER cases using spreadsheets, inputting the data manually each time. Averaging around 57 new cases a month, the trust needed new software to increase the efficiency of data entry and assist with generation of reports.

“The biggest problem the team encountered was that the Excel file often became corrupt, resulting in loss of data,” said Lucy Owers, employee relations officer at ESNEFT. “Using spreadsheets made it complicated to add information in different formats, and particularly difficult when using mandatory fields.

“Fields were often left empty, which made it hard to filter and segment data concerning a particular case. During the filtering process, it only came up with half the information, making the data unreliable, with formatting issues. This meant we had to manually generate reports, which was a complicated and inefficient process.”

To solve these problems, the trust started using the ER Tracker developed by cloud technology firm Selenity in 2017, and has now completely removed the use of spreadsheets, with the entire ER team using the system to manage their cases.

“The easy-to-use functionality of Selenity ER Tracker means we can manage cases in real time and have greater visibility of the cases right across the organisation,” said Emily Turner-Hennings, an HR officer at ESNEFT. “We can log in remotely 24/7 and having all the information in one place has also made a big difference for our senior advisers. It means that if a member of staff is out of the office, they can view specific cases and access the necessary information to allow them to easily cover caseloads.

“Selenity ER Tracker notifies users when they have been assigned to a case. This is effective because you can pick it up in real time and, from a management perspective, it shows a transparent view of which team member is assigned to each case. One of the biggest differences is no file corruption, all case data is securely stored in the cloud, it’s smoother to access and is a quicker, slicker process for us.”

The trust uses the system to cover a wide range of case types, including disciplinary (the most common), grievance, bullying and harassment, and general enquiries around employee sickness.

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Turner-Hennings said the system also offers “flexible user permissions, which allows us to sensitively and discreetly manage cases”. This means users can only access information they are permitted to see.

Through the Tracker’s dashboard and reporting suite, which provides a range of granular information-filtering options, the trust can now also generate its monthly reports and communicate them with other departments and the wider organisation much more quickly.

Owers added: “Cross-department visibility enables us to access reports on each area of the business. It’s a much better process of displaying data compared with the previous method, which became complicated and unreliable.

“Our employee relations team have full access to Selenity ER Tracker and our vision for 2021 is that all managers across the trust will be using Selenity ER Tracker to ensure the system is being used to its full potential.”

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