Healthy Working Lives | NHS Health Scotland - Big Red Case Study

Healthy Working Lives

Project Type: Software Development

Type Date


Adoption in year 1 (%)
ROI in year 1 (%)
ROI after 3 years


Healthy Working Lives (HWL) is a Scotland-wide programme delivered by NHS Health Scotland which supports Scottish employers to protect and improve the health and well-being of their workforce.

Established in 2007, the program includes the HWL Award - Bronze, Silver and Gold levels - and now has over 1,000 employers participating, covering over 750,000 workers (31% of the workforce)

Achieving and retaining the HWL award requires participating organisations to produce evidence to demonstrate that they have researched their workforce’ needs and have implemented actions and systems to meet the defined standard. After an initial assessment, organisations must undertake an annual review with a full assessment required at each new award level.

Initially, the HWL award process was heavily paper based. Each participating organisation had to print materials and populate a ring binder with a range of forms and supporting evidence for every relevant criterion at each level of the award. These portfolios could easily run to several hundred pages.

As the number of participating organisations grew, it became apparent that a paper system was inefficient and ineffective both for customers and award programme staff.

The most evident issues were:

• The cost of transporting heavily laden ring binders between customer, adviser and verifiers

• Ease of review of evidence when information could be misplaced or mixed up in the ring binder format

• The need to complete all criteria before having the evidence assessed inhibited progress and momentum

• The difficulty and cost associated with updating materials (e.g.) in light of legislative changes

• Organisation time and costs in production of the evidence

• The security risks inherent in transporting hard copy data

• The assessment process could take up to 14 weeks


HWL already had a sophisticated web-based CRM and management information system - called iPort which was developed by Big Red Digital Ltd - which could track engagement and progress with customers across the range of HWL services. An extension to that system to better manage the award process was therefore an obvious solution.

The major project objectives included:

• Simplify the process for staff and customers

• Cost reductions for HWL

• Improved customer intelligence and management information

• Improved quality and consistency of service

With HWL input we developed a test Portal within 5 months which was used to refine every aspect of the new tool. We branded the new system “ePortfolio” to give it a distinct identity within iPort for staff and customers alike.

Through continuous feedback we extended the system to give HWL customers access to more functionality such as sign up for newsletters and change system preferences. We also introduced online self-help tools to assist their customers with the use of the ePortfolio i.e. YouTube videos and Hover Over help prompts as well as a dedicated email help address.


• Within 1 year of launch, 60% of HWL customers transferred to the ePortfolio to provide evidence for their next award level. 100% of Award Holders now use the system for their Yearly review and all newly registered customers use the system to build their portfolio of evidence.

• HWL have better, more accurate and timely information on the benefits and outcomes of the Award Programme nationally, and can engage with customers faster to address any issues they have.

• HWL have been able to quickly update materials in line with legislation changes and “push” these to all their customers in real-time.

• Customer feedback has been very positive and HWL continue to seek this for ongoing development. They have seen growth in satisfaction ratings across 3 key areas of customer feedback related to assessment, along with an improved Net Promoter Score which rates the service as excellent.

Compiling evidence Convenience Feedback NPS
2015/16 4.00 4.70 4.69 63.64%
2016/17 4.05 4.84 4.75 70%

• HWL have seen a drop in the volume of customers leaving the Award Programme (-32%) with a significant reduction in “paperwork” being cited as the reason for leaving.

In addition, we have significantly reduced costs for HWL in several key areas:

• No need for hard copy folders at each award level

• Assessment costs reduced by:

  • No Checklist Visit Required
  • No Pre-Assessment or Bronze Visit for Assessment Required
  • No Review Visit Required


Year End ROI
2015 275%
2016 1118%
2017 1595%
Average 584%


Throughout the NHS there will be fewer resources available in future to deliver services therefore it is vital that HWL continue develop a strategy of doing more with less.

Plans are underway now to extend the reach of the ePortfolio tool into other areas which will further improve the service and reduce costs.

What could your business do with results like these?

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