Sickness and absence reporting

The Trust

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

What the trust did

The human resources board report had typically focussed on reporting a series of data sets based on a red-amber-green rating and looking at movements in month-on-month figures. Using the ‘Making Data Count’ guide a full review was undertaken of the human resources board report which included sickness absence.

The human resources team proposed a change to the reporting, changing from red-amber-green rating and changes in month-on-month figures, to using statistical process control for all human resources metrics.

Furthermore, rather than reporting all metrics every month, which allowed very little time for analysis, action planning and implementation, the report would have a six-monthly cycle. This allows for deeper, more meaningful discussion at board level and provides an opportunity for the human resources team to support operational services to identify best practice, share learning and make improvements.

We engaged with the human resources team who contribute to the board report and engaged with board to ensure the proposal would meet governance requirements and provide adequate assurance. A revised human resources board report was launch just over a year ago. As the report has embedded into the governance structure it has been adjusted to respond to feedback as the users have become more familiar with it and the analysis it provides.

How they did it

It was important to understand the reason for the change being needed and in changing to something else, what the benefit would be for all those involved in contributing to the report and using it. Developing a good understanding of the content and tools of the ‘Making Data Count’ guide was critical to the success, and then trying out the tools across the organisation. The aim was for the human resources data, like sickness absence, to be a useful tool for leaders to understand and be able to identify when changes in the data were significant to be able to analyse causes, whether positive or negative.

Therefore, we implemented statistical process control for sickness absence and met with all operational leaders, presenting the new format and an introduction to how to use it. This was both to engage and involve them in the development and respond to feedback, but also to understand the appetite for the change being proposed.

Engagement with human resources and board on the content, design, and schedule of the reporting was key to ensure we maximised opportunity to align reporting schedules to multiple audiences. Workforce information team was key in being able to make the changes and reformatting. Post initial launch, being open to suggestions and amendments to support the changes embedding into the organisation has helped continual improvement for all involved.

The impact

In understanding the tool, the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust could be more efficient, focusing on changes in data that mattered (as they were significant) rather than tracking normal variances. Providing leaders with targeted reporting helps to identify when action has led to improvements. That can also be shared and used to identify areas of concern so that focused support can be provided.

The schedule of reporting has provided the human resources with an opportunity to business partner their services, using the data to have informed discussions and providing space to identify and share best practice/make improvements in a managed way.