Transformation Partners in Health and Care > News > Innovations to speed up NHS recruitment win award

Innovations to speed up NHS recruitment win award

The NHS in north central London has slashed its time for bringing in new staff from 30 to 18 days largely thanks to use of smart technology.

By enabling successful applicants to complete new starter forms online and using robotics to securely transfer that data to other NHS databases, the onboarding process has been made faster, easier, and more reliable. It has also freed up staff time for other work.

Now the initiative, by Transformation Partners in Health and Care’s Digital Productivity team and North London Partners Shared Services, has won the award for smarter working from the HPMA Excellence in People Awards 2023.

Darren Atkins, TPHC chief technology officer who leads digital productivity, said: “We looked at how to improve recruitment processes for eight NHS trusts in north central London. Between them, they onboard around 15,000 people a year who need to complete new starter forms.

“Some trusts were using spreadsheets, others paper forms. There were problems with both. In agreement with them, we implemented the new starter e-forms which have recently gone live in Civica’s Trac recruitment system which they all use. We also built two robotic process automations.

“The first downloads the incoming e-forms (four for each individual), collates them into one spreadsheet for payroll and saves each individual’s information in their electronic personnel file. The second reads information from the spreadsheet and inputs the details into each new starter’s file on the NHS Electronic Staff Record.

“We wanted to reduce the time it takes for successful applicants to start work with the NHS, minimise processing time by HR teams, and improve the experience for our new starters.

“We beat our own expectations in terms of time saved and achieved 100% applicant satisfaction. Now we’re sharing our experience with other NHS organisations so they can do the same.”


  • 80%+ of successful applicants now take 3 working days to submit their new starter forms – down from 11 days before.
  • Data quality, input and access issues have improved for 99%+ of new starters.
  • 2,500+ hours of inputting time (1.5 whole time posts) is being saved a year.
  • 100% of new starters say they find the process easy and prefer completing the forms online.
  • In March 2022, average time for a successful applicant to start was 30 days. In March 2023 it was 18 days. E-forms and robotic process automations have played a large part in this dramatic reduction.

If you want to talk to us about how we can help improve your efficiency and performance, please contact the Digital productivity team for an informal chat at: