Innovation – P1

Julie Harrhy, the Finance Projects Team and the Digital Innovations Team

Midlands and Lancashire CSU

Midlands

“Training in house staff to code and programme the Bots means that there is future proofing, and that people understand what the bot is doing.”

Peer Reviewer

“I recommend this for approval and it fits with the direction of travel that most organisations should be starting upon.”

Peer Reviewer

“the engaging way in which this was developed will certainly have contributed to its success as a project.”

Peer Reviewer

The Problem

The Customer and Corporate Finance teams needed to automate the creation, manipulation and issuing of reports, and chasing providers for responses to emails because otherwise efficiencies in time wouldn’t be made and therefore work needed to ensure that staff and the CSU services are fit for the future to support the CCG closedown, the creation of ICBs and the development of partnerships with ICS members wouldn’t be possible. Otherwise, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have capacity to move forward and survive.

The Challenges

  • How might we automate transactional report running and manipulation when there is resistance from transactional staff, (because of fears around loss of their jobs) so that they will assist us to document the processes and come on the journey with us?
  • How might we find capacity to work on the Project and with the team coding the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) bot so that we deliver on our aims?
  • How do we as project owners understand what this new technology is capable of and how do we raise awareness amongst the wider Finance teams so that we can set out the deliverables and ensure they have the best chance of being met?

The Outputs

The tangible products that came from our innovation were:

  • Reports which are ran by the bot every day/week/month, formatted and saved down where we need them.
  • Reports which are ran, manipulated, saved down and emailed out to customers.
  • Emails are generated to hundreds of care providers each month chasing them for information so that they can be paid quickly.

The Outcomes

The benefits to individuals has been that they are spending less time on routine tasks and have more time to add intelligence to what they are reporting on. They have moved from just sending a list of for example, unmatched POs to a budget holder, to adding a comment to the email explaining why and adding an age analysis. The feedback from staff has been very positive. The benefits to the team are that there is now more understanding of the art of the possible and acceptance that this is the future and we need to embrace it. There is a sense of wanting to learn more and we have our STAR Education now driving this. The benefits to the organisation are that we have tested this technology (the first CSU to so so), we are sharing it (presentation to the Regional Office ICS Senior Leaders Forum) and provided case studies to others. We hope to share this wider and support others to implement RPA. In terms of time saved: The Corporate finance team saved 9 hours a month by automating 4 of their month end reports, (band 6 to band 8b staff). The Customer Finance team have saved around 20 hours a month (across many bands) and more reports are due to be automated. The STAR Innovations group are reviewing new innovative ideas from across the wider finance team and the efficiencies will no doubt increase. The auto chasing of care home providers has saved between 30- 40 hours a month of Band 3 and Band 4 staff time.