NHSE explores procuring single HR and payroll system for entire service

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  • NHSE/I explore major IT solution
  • Plan to combine national NHS staff and finance system
  • Status quo “impedes” analytics opportunities  

A single tech platform for administrative data could be put in place across the entire NHS in a bid to improve the health service’s management and analytics.

Last month, NHS England/Improvement asked software companies for feedback on plans to create a digital platform which would host functions such as HR, payroll, finance, procurement, recruitment, talent management and planning.

The platform, described as an “enterprise resource planning solution”, would bring together the functions of two major national HR and finance systems used by the NHS. It would host services which affect the NHS’ 1.7 million staff and billions of pounds worth of NHS expenditure.

Almost every NHS organisation in England uses the same electronic staff record system to manage its HR and payroll services. However, different organisations have added various applications to manage functions such as other finance services, procurement, and talent management.

According to NHSE/I, this has “impeded” the NHS’ ability to develop multifunctional analytics which can be used and shared across the hundreds of organisations that make up the NHS — the regulator said in its market briefing.

Additionally, there is a “very significant” cost of maintaining and upgrading the different systems, and the way in which they interact with other software.

Both the Department of Health and Social Care, which is responsible for the electronic staff record, and NHSE/I, which is responsible for the finance system, need to re-procure the services.

The organisations have therefore agreed to explore if integrating the two systems into a cloud-based solution would be more efficient. This is thought by both DHSC and NHSE/I to better enable the consistent and accurate flow of data across the NHS.

In its document (see below), NHSE/I said it was looking for “support and advice” and that officials want to “identify the likely benefits and drawbacks” of adopting an integrated platform as opposed to running separate administrative systems.

If a single integrated solution is procured, NHSE/I expects trusts to use the system when their software upgrade or development plans allow it.

It is planned that officials working on the project will report recommendations next January. A full procurement — for a five-year contract — could be launched from July 2021, according to the document.

NHSE/I did not respond to requests for comment.

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Source: HSJ

Author: Nick Carding

Date: 19 November 2020