Flexible working implementation

In June 2019 the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care system was created. As an integrated care organisation, we work side by side with partners and the wider community to join up health and care for patients.

We provide hospital and community health services to half a million people. We’re responsible for delivering over 70 services across 15 main locations across North Cumbria and employ over 6,500 members of staff.

Following changes to national terms and conditions, we decided that we needed to undertake a policy and process review regarding Flexible Working Requests. Managing Flexible Working Requests are extremely important for organisations and are crucial in helping them deliver their retention plans and supporting the ambitions of the NHS People Plan. Functionality has been developed in ESR to assist organisations in delivering those commitments around flexible working requests.

Rebecca Robinson, ESR System Lead, said:

For many colleagues flexible working can mean the difference between being able to stay in the NHS or considering leaving. As an Organisation, we undertook a policy and process review in respect of flexible working, with engagement from the wider workforce on what they wanted to see in flexible working opportunities.

 We also wanted to effectively monitor requests to ensure that they were complying with terms and conditions, legislation, and local policy.

Once the review had concluded the following actions were implemented:

  • Policy amendments to include changes to include hybrid approach to home working.
  • Process for application as amended to be via ESR to allow for effective monitoring.
  • Guidance and comprehensive toolkits were made available to support updated policy. This included guidance on how to use flexible working functionality in ESR as both a manager and employee.
  • Policy go-live was 7th February 2022 and was supported with live training sessions from both the policy and systems team.

Following a successful implementation of the ESR functionality and changes to the local policy for flexible working, we have reported the following achievements:

  • A total 735 flexible working requests in ESR from 7th February so far.
  • Effective reporting and monitoring of requests to facilitate compliance with local policy and legislation.
  • Requests are readily available centrally if required, with a documented and auditable timeline.
  • Joint engagement and training sessions to support employees and managers with both policy and system queries to ensure engagement and effective use of the system.

Commenting on the success of this project Rebecca Robinson said:

Since we have implemented flexible working requests in ESR we have seen a real uptake in employees submitting these requests. It has also enabled us to monitor these requests much more effectively and it has given us assurance that we are compliant with national and local policies. I would certainly encourage organisations who are yet to implement flexible working requests in ESR to do so.

For further information about implementing flexible working requests, please contact Rebecca.Robinson@ncic.nhs.uk

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