Case study

NHS North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus:

Flexible working supports integrated service delivery and reduces costs for NHS Care Trust Plus

Overview

Flexible working supports integrated service delivery and reduces costs for NHS Care Trust Plus 

Flexible working is helping North East Lincolnshire NHS Care Trust Plus achieve its vision of a ‘high performing, inclusive and integrated approach to the delivery of services and commissioning’.

Employees at all levels now routinely share work spaces, work remotely in the community and at home. Reducing office space, eliminating unnecessary journeys and improving productivity are helping the Trust reduce its operational costs at a time of great financial challenge for the National Health Service.

Agile working is a wholesale strategic change. It is fundamental to achieving our aims of a lower cost base at the same time as supporting more closely our GP and Adult Social Care commissioning community. In addition, agile working provides a strong platform to meet the organisational changes being brought about by the current NHS reform agenda.”
- Cathy Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Finance Officer, North East Lincolnshire NHS Care Trust Plus

Challenge

North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus (NELCTP) has responsibility for commissioning health and adult social care services in North East Lincolnshire. The first of its type in the country, the partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council enables greater integration between health and social care and provides more opportunity to address wider determinants of health and wellbeing, such as education, employment, housing and lifestyle.

To support the delivery of more integrated services, the Trust wanted to introduce flexible working, and at the same time improve its cost base by consolidating a large number of properties across NE Lincolnshire.

Solution

BT was appointed to help develop the business case, support the subsequent implementation of the Trust’s ‘Agile’ programme throughout 2010 and 2011, and deliver ongoing support as part of a three year managed service.

Using the BT professional services approach, business consultants from BT Advise worked with employees across the Trust to develop a compelling business case, vision and strategic roadmap. More than one third of the Trust’s staff were involved in this process, helping to ensure the buy-in of the wider organisation from an early stage.

A review found that desk utilisation was only 45 to 55 per cent, and that people spent an average of 28 minutes per day travelling between sites. The business case showed that introducing flexible working could achieve a 42 per cent reduction in property costs and a 30 per cent reduction in travel costs.

Using BT Workstyle Managed Services (part of the BT Flexible Working Services [FWS] portfolio), implementation began in April 2010. The FWS team worked with the Trust to build detailed process and procedures.

This programme represented a significant cultural shift by replacing individual desks with non-assigned workspaces, shared by all teams. Trust directors led by example, using the same desk space as everyone else. Scanning and central services greatly reduced on-site paper storage and larger, shared devices replaced desktop printers.

The ‘Agile’ programme portal, provided by BT as part of its managed service, supported employees through the transition and day to day protocols of flexible working. Alongside this, the FWS team worked closely with the Trust’s programme team to deliver employee workshops, and provide the management information needed to deliver the benefits.

To enable the ‘Agile’ programme, some 200 employees are equipped with laptops and mobile phones so they can work at home, in a Trust office, primary care centres or other community locations, depending on their schedule for the day. The Trust has also embraced telephone conferencing and installed video conferencing on some employee laptops.

Value

Estimates show that combined ongoing annual savings from buildings, travel and recruitment will reach £444,000 by April 2012. The payback period for the costs associated with setting up the buildings for flexible working is two and a half years and including all cashable savings, the payback period is less than one year.

The ‘Agile’ programme has enabled all HQ staff to be more flexible and responsive to business needs. The ability to access key systems, email and documents from remote locations has improved effectiveness and efficiency across all functions. For example, it has enabled finance staff to leave their desks and take their work out to GP practices, where they can discuss and review financial issues with GPs at a convenient time, rather than requiring the GP to visit head office.

Employees are enjoying the greater trust and flexibility afforded by flexible working. It encourages staff, even at a junior level, to be more responsive and take ownership of the services they provide. The ability to work flexibly, including from home, has personal benefits and the Trust has early evidence that short-term sickness and carer-related absences are reduced and that generally, work/life balance has been positively affected.

Managers are now focusing on an individual’s productivity and outcomes, rather than his or her presence, and this change in management style is encouraging a more thoughtful approach to evaluation and support.

Technical

BT Advise

BT Advise enables organisations to understand how best to provide a flexible working environment for their employees. Using a consultative approach, it rapidly delivers a thorough understanding of the organisation, accurately calculates the cost and benefit of various options and presents specific recommendations for flexible working.

Following their role in leading the initial consulting work for the Trust, BT business consultants continued to work closely with the Trust, within the framework of the FWS Managed Service. In the role of ‘critical friend’ during and after implementation, BT consultants helped the Trust to track benefits, capture lessons learned and plan future refinements to the ‘Agile’ environment.

BT Workstyle Managed Services

BT Workstyle Managed Services is a proven methodology for successfully introducing flexible working. It provides a structured change control service, practical expertise on the flexible working transition, support for property and HR functions, supply chain management and ongoing support.

Central to the BT Workstyle Managed Services is a secure web application which is initially used to explain flexible working choices to employees and then supports them as they make the transition to a new work style such as more flexible office-based working as well as home-based and mobile working.

A fully managed service, BT Workstyle Managed Services frees employers from the responsibility of running a flexible working portal and supports employees and their managers in their day-to-day flexible working lives.

Core BT Services

  • BT Advise
  • BT Workstyle Managed Services

Resources

Case study