By Alison Clare

One of the key success criteria for the Yorkshire & Humber Care Record programme has been finding the right people with the right skills and ensuring they were available when we needed them. Without this the programme would have been compromised.  The risk of failure to deliver on time, to budget and to quality would have increased without the right people in place.

Who did we need?

First of all we identified the activities to be done.  These were on our programme plan.  We separated these into positions and wrote a clear job specification for each one.  This helped us identify the right person during the recruitment process.  We separated business change roles from IT roles to ensure we got a good mixture of the softer change skills along with some more technical abilities.  We wrote the work packages in advance so we were able to hire to fill specific posts and we avoided over resourcing the programme.

How did find them?

Initially we put a call out across the region to build the team from staff.  We knew there were skilled people that would be willing to be seconded to the programme and where we weren’t able to fill roles we recruited from external consultancies.  We filled a number of key roles with seconded staff from Rotherham, Humber, Leeds, York, Sheffield and Bradford.  For those roles remaining we discussed them with consultancies on the Digital Marketplace and ran procurements to find the best team.

We ran an interview process – candidates were asked a predefined a list of questions which were scored.  We determined what an acceptable pass was so if we had several candidates above the line we could offer it to the second if our first choice turned the role down.  The interview needed to be sufficiently formal to test the applicant but not so much that they are unable to perform to the best of their ability.  We used open questions such as “can you give me an example of when?” rather than just asking them to talk about their CV.  This gave the candidate time to expand on their knowledge and for us to test how they handled different situations such as poorly performing project team members, governance or risk.

When did we need them?

Planning the demand. There have been and continue to be peaks and troughs in our programme and for budget purposes it was important not to have resources sitting idle.  We didn’t plan too far ahead yet ensured we left sufficient time to find the right people.  It remains a fine balance. We wrote a high level plan based on the key phases of the programme; documenting this in MS PowerPoint to help identify the resources needed at each phase and obtained sign off from the delivery board.  But we didn’t plan the detail of each phase until closer to the time.   A mix of contract staff and trust staff was a sensible option for the programme.  It is unusual for the NHS to have all the necessary experience in-house so we needed experts who had been there and have worn the t-shirt.  Importantly we insisted knowledge transfer occurs as a mandatory part of the programme.  This ensures we receive a good return on our resource investment.

By Alison Clare
Programme Manager