The Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) is dedicated to providing excellent health and social care for people with mental health illnesses and those with learning disabilities.
HPFT aims to provide a high standard of service and the trust has an outstanding track record of service delivery and quality.
The Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) governance team found a large part of administrators’ time was being spent photocopying papers and sending out meeting packs as both hard copies and emails. Non-executive directors would frequently request past papers be sent to them, and it was impractical and insecure to expect them to maintain their own archive. The Trust also found that a number of actions set at meetings were being overlooked or not completed on time.
To ensure the Trust runs smoothly and there is a high standard of governance and board assurance, it is crucial to make sure back-office administration is running as efficiently as possible and no resources are wasted.
HPFT discovered BoardPacks when they visited the eShare stand at a governance conference and instantly saw it as a SharePoint solution that stood out and would work for them.
BoardPacks is designed specifically to support good governance and deliver back-office efficiency savings such as those laid out in the NHS Operating Framework.
Barbara Suggitt, company secretary/head of corporate affairs, saw the benefits of the BoardPacks system being built on SharePoint, “When we saw eShare we recognised immediately that the solution they have developed in SharePoint is far more comprehensive and intuitive than we could expect to be able to develop in-house. As SharePoint is already a familiar platform within the trust, deployment and training has been easier.”
“We knew that our administrative processes were not as efficient as they could be, and eShare stood out as offering the potential to streamline our administrative processes around meetings and associated documents. We also liked the fact that the platform could be extended to manage many other governance processes such as risk management, policy management, internal audit, and compliance.”
HPFT chose to implement a gradual cultural change by rolling out BoardPacks to one committee at a time. Barbara Suggitt explained, “By introducing BoardPacks to committees gradually, they can see it’s not just yet another new piece of software, or computing just for computing’s sake; they are able to see the benefits it brings from the start.”
BoardPacks helps trusts to meet national requirements for back-office efficiencies as set out in guidance such as the NHS Operating Framework. The benefits of BoardPacks in terms of administrative efficiency were clear to Barbara from the start, and are now proving themselves.
Barbara has identified time being saved on producing paperwork and chasing meeting actions, which BoardPacks now does for them. Previously meeting administrators pulled together action plans with timescales to issue alongside meeting minutes, and then conducted phone calls to remind people of their tasks. Now they simply schedule all actions with reminders on BoardPacks.
Barbara commented, “BoardPacks’ action management alone has saved us half a day a week and more as we extend BoardPacks’ use. In addition, the time saved producing paperwork has been even greater. When each administrator is running six or seven committee meetings a month, that adds up to several days per month in total.”.
It’s not just the administrators who are benefitting from the BoardPacks action tool, the committee members are too, Barbara explains, “While we are very strong in action planning, we are not always so successful in following up these actions and getting them signed off. Committee members were surprised and pleased to receive reminders for upcoming tasks.”
“We have found them to be very useful as it stops any excuses for failing to complete a task on time. All the information you need can be found from the reminder note. It helps committee members plan meeting actions into their own activities.”
HPFT has also found time being saved in other areas, such as administrators no longer needing to spend time issuing past papers.
Barbara said, “Board members and NEDs can now be simply directed to BoardPacks to find all the information and documents they need, rather than contacting the administrators with frequent requests for documents to be found, printed, and sent out.
“Putting the governance benefits to one side, we are in no doubt, even at this early stage, that BoardPacks will pay for itself many times over in reduced costs alone.”
HPFT have quickly seen the benefits of the BoardPacks system. Barbara commented, “Meetings run more smoothly, actions are no longer missed or avoidably delayed, and the extensive archive of documents is more easily accessible to all.”
“Committee members can access all the relevant information, past and present, when they need it, and they can be confident that any tasks that need completing do not get forgotten or delayed to the next meeting.”
HPFT now finds itself freed from many time-consuming administrative actions such as the chasing up of tasks or issuing of papers. Administrators are able to use the extra time more productively on other activity to further improve the running of the Trust, and ultimately enhancing governance and board assurance.
Barbara finishes, “Another benefit of BoardPacks is the ability to tackle so many governance issues. Whilst our immediate focus is meetings, actions, and knowledge, we also know that we have an integrated cost effective platform that can be extended to manage risk, policies, decision making, business plans, procedures, internal audits, and pretty much any governance process.”