Round-up: NDL Community Awards 2021

Following last week’s event, we’re incredibly pleased to announce this year’s winners, highly commended and special mentions of the NDL Community Awards 2021. After a challenging year for community members across the breadth of the public sector, we’ve seen some of the most innovative, replicable, and successful digital transformation projects to date. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s virtual event, here’s everything you missed from the NDL Community Awards 2021.

Recognising our community

Hosted by NDL Customer Success Manager Hannah Gilbank and Finance Director Nicola Lister, the ceremony was held virtually in recognition of COVID-19 guidelines. Each of the five winning categories were announced live, as decided by a panel of three NDL judges – Head of Delivery Campbell Harte, Chairman Gordon McClure, and Nicola herself.

Reflecting on a challenging year for the public sector, Nicola opened the ceremony by stating: “We would like to take this time to help you recognise the benefits that you have brought to your teams. Today’s awards programme has also been designed to showcase and share replicable projects from the community. And to inspire you and like-minded organisations to achieve those same benefits by taking those ideas, learnings and even elements of their projects for your own transformations.”

Again, this year’s winners receive £500 to donate to their chosen charities, and a £250 donation is made on behalf of the highly commended. Including a couple special mentions, read more about this year’s NDL Community Award winning organisations and projects below.

Changing Lives Award

Awarded by Hannah, the Changing Lives Awards recognises the differences the NDL Community has made with our transformational technologies.

Norwich City Council – Breathing Space

In support of residents struggling with financial difficulties, Norwich City Council repurposed its existing “Tell Us Once” system to ensure Breathing Space requests were received by all relevant departments. Providing debtors with a 60 day pause on enforcement, the automated process has already actioned 546 transactions – equal to time savings of 27 working hours.

On the council’s quick response to this project, Hannah said, “Norwich City Council has adopted a very efficient and modular approach to scripting new RPA processes. It has actually reused large elements of its original code across a further 25 internal processes for rapid deployment.

“In the wake of the pandemic and finances being stretched like no other - the judges were impressed by the speed at which the council jumped to action to rapidly deploy this solution. It not only extends the council’s capabilities in terms of debt management, but also provides an improved debt service to citizens that works for them individually.”

Highly commended

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council - COVID-19 Test Booking System

Named ‘UK Council of the Year’ at this year’s iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards, Wigan Council was the first of ten pilot organisations to implement a suitable digitisation for COVID-19 test bookings. Using the NDL eForm platform, it was able to deliver over 1,000 tests across numerous centres and mobile surge sites within the community every week.

Announcing the commendation, Hannah emphasised: “Out of the 10 testing pilots in England, Wigan Council was the only local authority able to find a viable digital solution. The judges felt that this entry was just phenomenal in terms of delivering an essential service to the public, not to mention the fantastic collaboration with us at NDL to deliver this project in a remarkably short timescale.

“The collaborative effort between both teams was at the very heart of this project. Well done Wigan Council!” To see Wigan’s COVID-19 test booking system in action – and to learn more about the project in full – watch our video case study.

Community Collaboration Award

To celebrate the sharing of learnings and acceleration of projects within the NDL Community, Hannah awarded this year’s Community Collaboration Award.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust - Covid-19 Vaccination Administration

As part of an innovative, digital-first COVID-19 response, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust used a combination of eForms and mobile apps to assist in the vaccination of its staff and key workers within the wider community. Bolstering its successful vaccination campaign, the systems provided significant time savings for both clinicians and administers.

Presenting the win, Hannah remarked, “The Trust was able to share the booking system with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS who were then able to create similar booking systems for its own staff. The total time to transfer and implement the system was less than a week.

“Morecambe Bay NHS have had a history of collaborating with NDL and sharing the work they have developed - and in presenting this award to Morecambe Bay, this not only reflects this collaboration, but all the great work they have shared over the last few years. Well done to Morecambe Bay NHS, and of course Lancashire, South Cumbria, and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals too!”

Highly commended

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea – The Community and Resident-focused Environmental Services Transformation (CREST) app

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) created its Community and Resident-focused Environmental Services Transformation (CREST) and Contract Monitoring apps to eradicate laborious rekeying processes for its teams of community officers. Used across a number of departments, its mobile applications provided more time for the work that matters.

Speaking of its collaboration efforts, Hannah commended RBKC: “As long-term collaborators with Westminster City Council, together they share a range of IT processes, systems, and infrastructures within their respective organisations – and a digital-first approach has been adopted within environmental health.

“We are always looking to our community to connect and share with one and other, and in this case, we are happy to celebrate the collaboration that came from within their joint working arrangement. Well done Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, and by extension, Westminster City Council too!”

Driving Value Award

The final award presented by Hannah, the Driving Value Award recognises NDL Community organisations that prioritise replicability and wide-scale efficiencies to maximise ROI.

Conwy County Borough Council - WCCIS Migration

In order to revolutionise the accessibility of its social care records for care providers, Conwy County Borough Council migrated almost 12 million records from its legacy system into the country-wide Wales Community Care Information System (WCCIS). Using a combination of attended and unattended bots to process unstructured data, the project was complete in just three months.

Speaking on the council’s recent achievements, Hannah said, “Having successfully accomplished its first mission while already recognising significant benefits in only year two, the council has begun its journey to huge returns on investment - now adopting an ‘automation first’ approach.

“It now looks towards RPA in HR and payroll, where the systems in place currently require APIs - again, seeking out those areas most in need from both a time and financial perspective. A huge well done to the council on this fantastic achievement and the huge benefits seen already – we can’t wait to see what’s next!” Read more about Conwy’s exceptional migration project here.

Highly commended

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust – eConsent Forms

Applying its innovative eConsent system to COVID-19 vaccinations within Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) schools and beyond, Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust continues to demonstrate its commitment to replicable digital transformations across its community services. Using digital parent and guardian consent forms, accessed securely via URL links, the Trust has been able to streamline its revolutionary community vaccination process.   

Recognising the Trust’s continued achievements, Hannah explained, “With major benefits ranging from improved vaccination uptake and decreased wastage, improved data safety and security, faster mobilisation, and worker safety - not to mention a huge reduction in carbon footprint impact and cost - the Trust have gone from strength to strength to really push the boundaries of value with eForms.

“The judges felt this was an outstanding demonstration of purchasing for a particular need and getting added value from all of the arising additional uses that it has found – and we’re excited to see what’s next!”

Overall Digital Project of the Year

Presented by Nicola, the title of Overall Digital Project of the Year is awarded for the most interesting and effective use of eForms and mobile apps within the public sector operations.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – eObs

As one of the largest mental health Trusts in the country, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) sought to streamline its observation processes to the benefit of its patients and clinicians. Replacing a previously paper-based process, the Trust introduced its eObservations app to reduce admin overheads, improve patient experience, increase data quality, and provide workflow visibility.

Awarding MPFT, Nicola reflected: “The eObs app helped to streamline the observation process for clinical ward staff. With a mobile app accessible anywhere at any time, and with patient observation information readily available, clinical staff are able to deliver regular checks and improved care.

“Patients staying on these wards require unique levels of care. Many individuals require regular observation checks to monitor their current state and ensure their wellbeing. The judges felt that this project was not only rapid in its inception, but very impressive due to the complex nature of the medical environment in which the solution is deployed.”

Highly commended

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust – Learning from Deaths

Consisting of nine different eForms, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust created a complex dashboard system to provide improvements in data quality and efficiency throughout its mortality review process. As the first of its kind in the UK, this ground-breaking project streamlines this essential process at multiple clinical and third-party touch points.

Commending the Trust on its dedication to improved patient experience at every stage of care, Nicola commented, “As the data has moved away from being in a paper format and into a digital format, the Trust is now able to investigate patterns and trends around unexpected deaths, with a view to better understanding and ultimately providing the best possible care.

“Not only are the projects that RWT are working on really interesting, but the Trust has also been using all of the functionality of the product to really get maximum benefit.”

Honourable mention

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Lateral Flow eForms

As part of an accelerated digital transformation project, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust implemented a revolutionary COVID-19 lateral flow reporting eForm for its members of staff. Allowing the Trust to monitor and manage infection rates on its frontlines, the eForm system has processed over 13,700 transactions since its launch.

Celebrating the Trust’s innovation and dedication to digital transformation, Nicola concluded, “It’s safe to say that the Trust is a true “rising star” when it comes to rapid development with the FX toolkit and it is well on its way to achieving its digitisation goals; from streamlining existing processes and improving data security, to improving staff and patient experience, we can’t wait to see what’s next from the Trust with eForms – 15 of which are already in the planning stage!”

Overall RPA Project of the Year

Drawing the ceremony to a close, Nicola appointed the Overall RPA Project of the Year for best in-class use of automation and digital workforces.

Circle Health – Patient Referrals & Discharging

As part of a wider digital transformation effort, Circle Health has successfully automated 90% of inbound referrals, as well as 85% of external physiotherapy referrals. It continues to innovate with a pipeline of over 200 automation projects, delivering significant time and resource savings, greater patient choice and improved data accuracy. 

Announcing the win, Nicola presented Circle’s Patient Referrals & Discharging RPA Project of the Year award – providing special recognition to its dedication to bolstering in-house skillsets. She said, “From collaborative recruitment and mentorship, to a modular development approach which means learnings and code snippets can be re-used, Circle can continue its transformation journey.

“And whilst we at NDL look forward to working alongside the team into the future, many improvements can now be made independently of NDL, because of its own self sufficiency and knowledge. A huge well done to Circle!”

Highly commended

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – Clinical Portal Referrals

Allowing for the acceleration of patient pathways, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust applied RPA to its GP referrals process – resulting in time savings equal to two and a half FTEs. Since implementing the automation, it’s estimated that the Trust will now save almost one million sheets of paper every year, processing around 15,000 referrals every month.

Congratulating the Trust on its RPA Project of the Year commendation, Nicola said, “This allows the Trust to process, and see referred patients even more quickly. The system can now manage between 600 and 700 referrals per day, which saves around 140,000 sheets of paper per month.

“The judges felt that this process truly represents the core values of NDL - digital transformation in the public sector for the public good. We were also very impressed with the agility of the Trust to make improvements during this difficult time.”

Honourable mention

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – Digital Learning Registrations

As one of five RPA projects completed within its first 12 months of working with NDL, the automation of Digital Learning Solution (DLS) registrations provided healthcare professionals working across three hospitals – and many more community services – with faster access to essential educational content.

Delivering its honourable mention, Nicola said of the Trust: “Since starting on its RPA journey 12 months ago Mid Yorks have already implemented five successful RPA projects. Utilising the SX platform, the Trust has revolutionised key processes with an impressive catalogue of 'quick-wins'. These processes were identified as experimental starting points, allowing Mid Yorks to gauge RPA’s effectiveness within the organisation.

“I’m sure we can all agree that it is effective!”


See you next year!

Congratulations to all of our award winners – we can’t wait to review next year’s exciting and innovative entries. For further inspiration, visit our Success Stories page and find more NDL Transformation Suite public sector use cases. Member of the NDL community? You can catch the whole awards showcase on-demand over on the Community Portal. Don’t miss our next events – catch-up on forthcoming dates with the Event Calendar.

Overall Digital Project of the Year award winners

“ It’s brilliant that the work undertaken by the eObs Project Team has been recognised at the NDL Community Awards, it has been a great team effort from all involved. eObs has been one of the Trusts key digital innovation projects over the last year and has brought a number of benefits with it. Developing and deploying the solution to wards during the COVID-19 pandemic posed additional challenges to the team, however by IM&T, Clinical Leads and NDL working closely together, the Trust have been able to go live with the application across a number of its therapeutic wards. Thanks to the team at NDL for their support throughout! ”
Midlands Partnership Nhs Foundation Trust Logo
Jack Gould
Senior IM&T Project Manager
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Overall Digital Project of the Year highly commended

“ We were very grateful for both the nomination and high commendation for our project. This represents the culmination of months of hard work and inspiration to bring this much needed and valuable project to completion. I am sure the high commendation will spur us onto develop more systems worthy of accolade in the future and I suspect you will see us back again for future awards. ”
Simon Parton
Head of ICT Systems & Applications Services
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Foundation Trust

Changing Lives Award highly commended

“ It’s great that Wigan has been chosen for this accolade, especially as it was a highly pressured project with constantly changing requirements. I think the fact we were able to work together, virtually, and still deliver a successful project in such a tight timeframe is testament to the skill and professionalism of all involved. ”
Wigan Square
Steve Baldwin
Digital Transformation and Innovation Manager
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

Overall RPA Project of the Year award winners

“ We would like to thank NDL and the wider automation community for this award. In our first full year of operation as an automation team this is an amazing achievement. I would also like to extend my thanks out to Oliver Martin our Systems Change Manager and Kelvin Wong our Lead RPA Developer. Without these guys in the team we would not be where we are today. Their commitment to delivering high quality care through great uses of technology and people is amazing. We look forward to progressing further as a team as well as in collaboration with NDL and all our community partners. ”
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Daniel Smith
Head of Operations
Circle Health Group