Finance and People Alignment

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Midlands, Acute

The problem

The financial management (FM) team needs to work with the human resources (HR) to ensure that the position number structure on electronic staff record (ESR) exactly matches the budgeted establishment on the finance ledger, otherwise FM will continue to spend time dealing with queries around vacancies and establishment figures from budget holders which can be eliminated by having ‘one version of the truth’.

The challenges

• How might we work to ensure that the finance ledger and ESR match exactly so that budget holders can easily see what vacancies they have by looking at one monthly report and don’t have to liaise with finance to work out the vacancy position?
• How might we streamline reporting by combining finance and HR figures so that only one set of information is required each month to report on staffing numbers and vacancies?
• How might we improve vacancy controls to ensure that the budgeted establishment can never be exceeded in error?
• How might we implement controls around how and when budgeted establishments can be changed to ensure that skill mix changes are not made without a service review to ensure the need is justified.
• How can we create reports for budget holders that allow them to see their vacancy position plus the pipeline of leavers and new starters to help them manage recruitment more proactively and avoid delays that can lead to increased agency usage?
• How can we identify posts that have been vacant for a long time and are not being actively recruited into to review as potential efficiency savings if it is deemed that they are no longer needed in the establishment?
• How can we easily compare vacancies with bank and agency usage to ensure that the budgeted establishment is not exceeded with temporary staff?
• How can we standardise our reporting on the finance and workforce position to ensure consistency in the information received at all levels of the organisation ‘from ward to board’.

What were/are the outputs?

• Significant amounts of time freed up for finance staff by no longer having to help budget holders work out their vacancies.
• Improved information for budget holders on their establishment position including the identification of ‘inactive vacancies’ to allow identification of possible efficiency savings.
• Consistency of information between finance and HR so that there is no debate around the number of authorised posts that a cost centre has.
• Combined reporting of finance and HR positions on workforce numbers as there is one version of the truth, eliminating duplication of effort.
• A more robust system of vacancy controls, ensuring that its theoretically impossible for a cost centre to become over-established.
• Controls were put in place around how/when the budgeted establishment could be changed, ensuring that a proper process is followed to ensure that the impacts are considered. This has freed up time as managers frequently wanting to change the skill mixes was a time-consuming process for both finance and HR.
• Improved trust in the information provided around establishments as there is consistency between finance and HR.

What were/are the outcomes?

• Finance analysts’ time has been freed up, allowing them to focus on more value-adding activities.
• Establishment controls have been improved, reducing the number of cost centres that exceed their budgeted establishment.
• ‘Inactive vacancies’ have been reviewed, allowing some posts to be removed from the establishment as they are no longer required.
• An improved culture of collaborative working between finance and HR has been established.

The Innovation

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What the peer-reviewers said

“I believe it to be a useful and important exercise that will be of great use to your organisation moving forward.”

“This innovation shows the power of joint working and process redesign. It not only frees up time within the team but also helps improves controls and identify potential cost savings.”

“The advantages of this innovation are the time saved, freeing staff to do value added work, having one source of the truth and empowering budget holders to make decision.”

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Innovation F7 – Monthly PFA Reports – Powerpoint


Innovation F7 – SOP Establishment Mngmt Cntrls Aug 23 – Word