NHS Business Services Authority launches new digital strategy

NHS Business Services Authority has published its new digital strategy, with a focus on people, services and creating an environment to facilitate excellence.

The Special Health Authority, an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health and Social Care, set out its vision, to be a ‘Catalyst for Better Health’.

In 2016, Tom Loosemore, co-founder of Government Digital Service (GDS), wrote: ‘digital is applying the culture, practices, processes & technologies of the internet-era to respond to people’s raised expectations’; a principle NHS BSA said has formed the backbone of its new digital strategy.

The strategy is formed by five streams, focusing on people, services, teams, tools and processes, and leveraging technologies of the internet-era.

The body said it has moved away from a hierarchy structure, to a ‘matrix management approach’ more suited to agile methodologies.

Initially in the document, the body set out its purpose ‘to create an environment for our people to be their best’ and to ‘deliver quality solutions on time through innovation and collaboration, creating value for money and efficiencies’.

Over the past three years, the organisation has grown from 10 people to now over 150 permanent employees, and during that time the body said it has made “significant progress towards becoming a user-centred organisation. We’ve established user research and service design roles and practices, followed by the creation of professional leads for these roles at a senior level.”

User-centred design and building in the open has formed key aspects of the strategy, the document stated: “We’ll take a holistic view and strategic approach, identifying commonalities of user needs across services. We’ll work across our organisation to share insight and research, making sure that our services are aligned wherever possible – putting the user at the centre of it all.”

“We have good practices in place to support a user focus, to allow visibility of user insight across the Digital Directorate and to those closely involved. This includes the sharing of user research videos, participation in user research by all team members and high visibility of user feedback.”

The document also stated that ‘there’s more to do to truly embed this across the organisation and make sure that everyone has true empathy and understanding of our users’ needs’.

The body set out a clear statement in order to deliver its digital ambitions, stating they “need diverse teams who can bring their whole selves to the workplace and who are comfortable to be bold, inquisitive, challenging and empowered to make decisions.”

“With teams who offer a diversity of ‘lived’ experiences we’ll be better placed to deliver services which meet the needs of our diverse users. We encourage our teams to experiment and try things out. Teams that have the freedom to make decisions and are trusted to make the right one because they understand what we’re aiming for.”

Darren Curry, Chief Digital Officer at the NHS Business Services Authority, said: “Our new approach to digital transformation is focussed on the ‘why’ and ‘how’, and how it’s much more than just a ‘list of what’. Our strategy is our north star, our guiding light, keeping us focused on our organisational purpose –  to be a Catalyst for Better Health.”