Clear communication is crucial, which is why the Department of Health has embarked on a £390 million programme to replace outdated analogue radio and communications systems with a new digital service across all NHS Ambulance Trusts in England. The Ambulance Radio Programme (ARP) is central to those improvements.
Once fully implemented, it will not only replace individual communication systems with a more reliable and secure network service between ambulance crews, control rooms and hospitals but will also seamlessly link with other Trusts, the police and the fire service. Every Trust had its own way of working, but this disjointed approach posed a major challenge in the early days of the ARP. Each had its own project team using different software and systems and with varying skills. Some had project management experience, others were operational staff.
There was no common technology platform and although Trusts had their own intranet sites, it was not possible to create a single site to which everyone involved had access.
A better way was urgently required and Enterprise Project Management (EPM) seemed the logical answer. The ARP team called in Program Framework to deploy the solution.
Speed of delivery was also possible because it was based on Project Server Framework™, a pre-configured implementation of Microsoft’s Office Project Server product set developed by Program Framework.
Ease and speed of deployment was facilitated through the use of Program Framework’s EPM Hosting Service. With a user community spread out across the UK and using disparate local infrastructures this provided a significant benefit, as local software installations became entirely unnecessary.
Once the EPM system was up and running, it provided a central pool for all the documents, plans, information and updates as well as an individual workspace for each Trust containing their own documents, risks and issues.
Program Framework also created a central Team site to support communication with the project teams via announcements, event calendars and discussion groups, thereby doing away with endless email threads.
Automated reporting allows the PMO to produce fortnightly programme status dashboards for all stakeholders, compiled from checkpoint reports submitted by each Trust. The central team has access to the management of risks and issues for individual project teams, flagging up any action that needs to be taken.
”Everyone is firmly on board using EPM,” said Arumza. “It has certainly speeded things up because we have a common way of doing things and the visibility to share best practice and ideas.”
"We have had a great relationship with Program Framework from the inception of this project. They have always been professional and flexible in responding to changing needs."
"We worked to aggressive timescales in implementing EPM within ARP and ensuring all 11 Trusts were trained up in time. We required a lot of their time in the early stages because we decided on a phased go live approach. Program Framework continue to support us, it’s a strong supplier/ customer relationship.”
Arumza Rashid, Programme Management Office, Department of Health