By Danielle Smith, Service Improvement Analyst with CLIC

In advance of the Trust merger, the recruitment teams from both the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUHT) came together to make many improvements in the recruitment process for applicants and recruiting managers. 

Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative (CLIC) facilitated a week-long Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) during the 12th – 16th August 2019, focusing on streamlining, integrating and standardising the recruiting process, and improving the onboarding experience.

Past experience has shown that in order to make sure that any improvement is sustainable, sufficient preparation beforehand is absolutely key. Therefore prior to the workshop, the CLIC team worked closely with the recruitment team to identify targets for improvement, capture the current state through observation, measurement and process mapping. This meant that everyone entered the workshop ready to hit the ground running.

The week itself kicked off with participants learning about improvement tools and approaches that form part of the Cumbria Production System and using these tools to improve their current processes. One of the tools used throughout the week was process mapping, where the flow of all of the separate processes within recruitment was visually displayed. This allowed the teams to identify waste and add value to the recruitment process. A value-stream map was also created to measure the time taken and identify value from the customer perspective. This tool was used by the teams to help with streamlining and to establish the lead time for recruitment.

During the rest of the week, members of the recruitment team worked alongside customers and their colleagues from other departments to problem solve the various recruitment and onboarding processes and redesigned an improved future state. Using a Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) tool, they were able to test out ideas for improvement.

There were a significant number of improvements which included:

  • A 20% reduction in overall time to recruit
  • The approval process was streamlined from 192 to 48 hours
  • Processes were integrated and standardised between the two recruitment teams, with 22 of 27 differences between the two teams’ processes being addressed
  • Establishment of a uniform ordering process which removes over 200 hours waste (equivalent to £2,000 a year)
  • A new, unified, recruitment team standard operating procedure was brought together, updated, and standardised, and further guidance for recruiting managers was created, with a bespoke training program planned for the future


The RPIW doesn’t end here, the teams have a plan for further improvements over the next 30-60-90 days and CLIC will provide support and follow up to embed the improvements and achieve the targets agreed at the outset.

If you would like more information on a RPIW with the CLIC team, please contact: 

For more information on Process Mapping, Value Stream Mapping and other improvement tools, please go to the Cumbria Production System Toolkit.