Robot helps the process of reconciling direct payments

Monday 21 February 2022

After the great success of our previous robotic process automation (RPA) projects, we’ve now automated the process of reconciling income and expenditure for direct payments.

Direct payments are payments which allow residents to purchase their own care either via an agency or through their own personal assistants. It gives them the flexibility to choose how they want their care to be given.

We’ve learnt that automation is a powerful tool for repetitive and time-consuming tasks. The process of reconciling direct payments was no different.

The team use several systems to calculate expenditure and income, look at balances and produce excel spreadsheets for each direct payments user. They notify Managed Account Providers of the findings as well as service users and the social worker team. This process involved excessive manual work and to improve efficiency and create capacity for the team, automation was the way forward.

We now have a robot that goes through the whole process, carrying out all actions needed from collecting the information on the different systems, sending email’s to updating a spreadsheet for staff to check. Once a response has been received from the managed account provider, the robot carries out the first stage of bringing surplus back to Redbridge. 

The benefits to the team because this process has been fully automated are clear, allowing them to be released from mundane and repetitive tasks and giving them time to concentrate on high-value and rewarding work.

Alongside this, the process has been standardised across all officers, meaning that knowledge has increased amongst the team and an improved efficiency in resolving issues.

As an organisation, the reduction of human error and the improved completion speed of the reconciliation process will enable any overpayments to be more rapidly returned to the service which in turn will improve cash flow.

We have demonstrated a commitment to the new ways of working described in our Digital and Customer Experience Strategy. Digital innovation means that we can continue to do more with less and we see automation as allowing us to work smart in challenging times.