With the legal establishment of Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) across England on 1 July 2022, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in multiple health and care systems needed specialist project management support in the transfer of their Oracle finance ledgers.
Arden & GEM’s finance service was engaged to provide a dedicated and experienced project management team to eight systems. By working collaboratively with the CCG finance teams, utilising significant experience of liaising with NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) and bringing together other key stakeholders, we were able to successfully achieve all project milestones.
As a result, the CCGs were able to mobilise for their ‘go-live’ dates as new ICBs while maintaining normal business functions.
The Health and Care Act came into law on 1 July 2022, giving statutory status to 42 ICBs in England, a new body responsible for managing NHS commissioning and funding with an Integrated Care System (ICS). Existing CCGs were absorbed into ICBs, a requirement of which was to transfer to a newly created finance ledger, designed specifically to support their needs as an ICB. Therefore, July 2022 saw the creation of 42 new ICB finance ledgers.
With significant experience of supporting previous successful ledger merger projects, Arden & GEM’s finance team was engaged by CCGs in eight different health and care systems to support their local finance teams with this task. Robust planning, effective relationship management and achieving key milestones would be fundamental to meeting the merger go-live date of July 2022.
"Your team once again provided invaluable additional capacity during a challenging period and played a key role in helping us deliver the project to timetable and in resolving matters that arose, as required. A job well done!"
Matt Dale, Financial Controller at NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB
Project experts from Arden & GEM’s finance team worked collaboratively with the CCGs’ senior finance teams and other key stakeholders such as internal and external audit. A programme management approach was taken to ensure that information and learning could be shared across all eight projects, with each ICS benefiting from Arden & GEM’s national expertise and relationships.
Our dedicated project manager and support team also:
- Prepared project highlight reports for Project Boards
- Chaired Project Boards and local team meetings
- Delivered plans to the agreed timescales and milestones, including sign off.
This partnership approach, combined with the Arden & GEM’s breadth of knowledge of the Oracle ISFE system, enabled risks and issues to be swiftly rectified.
"The CSU team took the lead of the ledger project from the offset, which allowed the CCG to focus on other areas of the transition. The CSU provided invaluable experience and knowledge, the ability to learn from other ongoing projects, ensured delivery of the outputs, and also provided a high level of assurance to our internal auditors and committees."
Donna Johnson, Acting Assistant Chief Finance Officer at NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB
Our team conducted an initial review which enabled the early identification of common risks and issues, including the volume of data templates to be completed and third party interdependencies such as NHS Supply Chain and external payroll.
Throughout the projects, our team ensured that data templates were completed accurately and delivered on time. These included:
- Chart of accounts amendments
- Cleansing and reviewing over 40,000 general ledger code combinations
- Cleansing and reviewing of customers and suppliers, with approximately 4,800 customers and 10,000 suppliers cleansed and reviewed per project.
We liaised with NHS Supply Chain and payroll to ensure their systems would interact correctly with the new ledger and facilitated any necessary amendments.
The team’s well-established relationships with SBS enabled us to provide an effective interface with the CCG, facilitating decision-making around new processes and new ways of working.
This was aided by:
- Providing regular updates to the SBS project team for checkpoint reporting and escalated risks and issues
- Completing all templates within deadlines.
"Arden & GEM was engaged to project manage both the merger of our four legacy CCGs and then more recently the setup of the ICB. Both projects ran smoothly thanks to the extensive knowledge base and experience of the team – they were able to advise on anything we had queries on, and we felt confident in their ability to deliver."
Sarah Thomas, Senior Finance Manager at NHS Black Country ICB
The transfer of each CCG ledger in all eight ICSs was successful and went live, as planned, on 1 July 2022. Our team continued to work with the newly created ICBs to offer post-project support, providing advice and guidance, answering questions and queries, and troubleshooting. This support was maintained until a business-as-usual position was reached.
By bringing the right people and expertise together, we were able to ensure that all projects were undertaken in a controlled and positive manner to minimise any impact on the day-to-day service of the CCGs or their suppliers. The team provided a responsive and proactive approach in supporting the CCGs to achieve all project milestones.
"The successful completion of this project was in no small way a result of the exceptional support provided by the project manager and team. The project from PID through to project sign-off and lessons learnt analysis has been efficiently and smoothly handled, with any queries quickly and professionally resolved and communication clear and timely throughout."
Liz Flavell-Smith, Director of Finance – Strategy at NHS Coventry and Warwickshire ICB