NHS Shared Business Services reduces reliance on traditional monthly deadlines, enabling faster onboarding and pay changes, swift recovery of overpayments and hundreds of thousands of pounds in efficiency savings. Initially used by four NHS trusts within the North Central London ICS (NCL ICS), with a fifth joining later, the new service’s three-day “anytime” turnaround has proven hugely popular with managers and staff alike.

“The migration was, quite simply, phenomenal. I can’t speak highly enough of the team at NHS SBS. We wanted to work with our partners, and with a large, trusted provider, and we’ve had such a positive experience.”

Matt Guilfoyle, Associate Director HR Operations, Great Ormond Street Hospital 

The Challenge

Faced with the need to achieve savings – and mindful of the impact that payroll has on staff morale and wellbeing – four trusts within the North Central London ICS decided to work on a collaborative solution.

Together, they set out to achieve quicker processing of payroll changes and faster recovery of overpayments, combined with real-time reporting for more accurate and accessible data. This included an objective to reduce under- and overpayments – a common problem across the NHS, often caused by managers providing late information – by 10 per cent year-on-year.

Female nurse smiling
Two white, female nurses at a hospital reception looking at records.
The Solution

In April 2022, a unique shared payroll and pensions service went live across Royal Free London, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, University College London Hospital and Camden & Islington trusts. In October 2023 they were joined by Great Ormond Street Hospital, and with the service designed so that other organisations in the ICS can join at a future date, increasing the potential economies of scale savings across the system.

The solution provided by NHS SBS includes a three-day turnaround for all payroll and pension requests, with no cut-off date mid-month as had previously been the case. It means that pay changes are seen in-month rather than having to wait until the end of the following month to take effect.

Bulk absence processing can be done twice a month – rather than the usual once – with manual corrections processed within three days of receipt, thus improving the trust’s financial position and the accuracy of pay for employees.

The new service also features a seven-day turnaround for processing overpayment calculations and notifying the affected employee – ensuring the trust can reclaim money more quickly and the employee is made aware of the incorrect payment as soon as possible, helping them to manage their personal finances.

Real-time reporting dashboards mean that data is readily available on an organisational and system-wide level, so that decisions can be made using the most up-to-date information – for example, quickly identifying any outlier wards or departments.

The Result

In its first three months, the new service delivered by NHS SBS reduced the time taken for overpayments to start being repaid from more than two months to less than two weeks. This equated to more than £112k being recovered by one trust alone – up dramatically from the £6k that would have been previously collected in the same period. Managers are able to identify trends and issues before they become problematic, thanks to real-time reporting.

And, to a newly formed ICS, the resilience of the NHS SBS specialist payroll and pensions service is a real source of reassurance that can prevent many payroll-related anxieties.


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