By Tony Collins
A nine-page letter written on behalf of eight health trusts is said to criticise Capita for “persistent minor failings” in managing payroll and other work formerly carried out by their human resources departments, says the Liverpool Post which has a copy of the letter.
The failings listed in the letter are said to include:
– overpaying staff, with trusts having problems recovering the monies paid out;
– breaching data protection by sending staff personal details to other employees;
– paying someone due to start work two months’ salary, despite their dropping out of the recruitment process;
– delays in pre- employment checks, leading to highly valuable candidates withdrawing their application for a job;
– losing sensitive and confidential information
The Post says the letter threatens terminating the contract. “Health trusts stressed, unless they sort the problems out, they will not only deduct the cost incurred to them out of Capita’s payment but continued failure will result in them terminating its contract,” said the paper.
The letter was said to have been written by Debbie Fryer, director of human resources at Aintree UniversityHospitals, Fazakerley, on behalf of several trusts within the North Mersey Framework that have contracted out their payroll and human resources work to Capita.
It represents Fazakerley Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, the mental health trust Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals, Wirral’s specialist Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the specialist brain hospital The Walton Centre.
In 2011 the Capita Group announced that it had been appointed as preferred supplier by a NHS North Mersey collaboration to deliver HR, payroll and recruitment services for up to 12 NHS trusts in Mersey.
The seven-year contract was worth up to £27m, with an option to extend for a further three years. The contract was expected to involve the TUPE transfer of up to 150 employees to Capita and the set up of new shared service centre based in Liverpool.
Capita said at the time it was first time NHS trusts had come together in the way they did to collectively outsource their HR, payroll and recruitment functions.
The Liverpool Post says the letter expresses concern that Capita displayed a “laissez faire” attitude to personal data which had the potential to be “extremely damaging” to the trusts’ reputations and employee morale.
Trusts were said to have had difficulties recovering sums overpaid to employees, particularly former employees. Examples of lost documentation were said to be “almost too numerous to mention”, with documents seemingly disappearing into a “black hole”.
Ms Fryer is said to have been alarmed at some of the content of a report on Capita by auditors Grant Thornton in May. The letter sought concrete proposals on how Capita was going to resolve the situation.
A spokesman for Capita told the Post: “Capita is under contract with 10 trusts in the north west of England as a part of a framework agreement to deliver transactional HR services, including payroll and recruitment.
“As a part of this contract, Capita has been consolidating each trust’s individual HR and recruitment processes moving these to one common process applicable to all trusts under the framework.
“The simpler, improved process will make HR services easier and quicker for staff to use, lightening the administrative burden so trusts can focus on patient care.
“In order to implement these valuable changes, Capita and the trusts are currently undergoing a period of transformation as individual, often paper-based, services move to this common process.
“During this period, some challenges have arisen for both the trusts and Capita. However, Capita is working closely with the trusts involved to overcome those issues identified in order to deliver an enhanced service for trusts and their staff.”