E-rostering has several different functions and benefits, as can be seen from the workforce optimisation maturity index. One of the primary uses is staff time and attendance rostering, which has proved to have a real impact on financial efficiencies, as pay accuracy is greatly improved.
The London School of Economics suggest that if all trusts in England implemented e-rostering for payroll the NHS would save £41million per year.
The advantage of e-rostering includes the electronic calculation of any enhanced payments and absence records, after the ward manager has approved any working changes and the verification of signatures, often an issue raised on overtime forms, enables employees to log their own attendance online for approval.
Consequently, approved pay more accurately reflects staff working hours. In 2014, the London School of Economics found that payroll mistakes as a result of poor record-keeping costs the NHS in England £60 million per year in over payments.Barts Health NHS Trust – the UK’s largest trust by turnover – overpaid staff by £1m in 2010-11 and 2011-12. In 2013, The Nursing Standard found that 1,400 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in the UK were over paid by £1.3m in 2011-12. In the same year, the NHS Staff Survey, found 55% of staff regularly worked unpaid hours and the NHS Pay Review Body, found 41% regularly worked up to five unpaid hours a week.
Why moving beyond time and attendance matters
Alan Duffell, member of the Workforce Deployment Expert Group, says:
“Prior to e-rostering, there was a very limited corporate view of how productive an organisation could be at deploying staff. There was also no simple way of analysing or measuring how good that productivity was.
“Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust adopted e-rostering and the most significant progress was being able to produce reports on avoidable costs and unused hours. We initially identified we were reporting a spend of circa £400,000 every four weeks on contracted hours that did not appear to be worked for various reasons.
“Over an 18-month period, we reduced these costs to circa £24,000, with the help of a centralised team and e-rostering system. Without it, we would have struggled.”
E-rostering savings could translate to £41 million across England
Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is an example of the value of e-rostering on staff pay. The trust implemented an e-rostering system in 2008. Research from the London School of Economics and the Policy Analysis Centre, a consultancy, found the trust’s payroll department had been able to make £100,000 in recurrent savings due to reduced input time and fewer errors following the system’s implementation. The trust also made a saving of £670,000 per month, which included a £5.8 million reduction in total temporary nursing spend between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Based on the savings made at Basildon and Thurrock, the LSE suggests the potential gains of implementing a full e-rostering system across English provider trusts could be up to £41 million annually.