Digital transformation helps Acorns Children’s Hospice Save Valuable Admin Hours

Acorns Children’s Hospice ( has saved valuable admin hours following a successful digital transformation of its HR and payroll functions with industry experts MHR (

Following a strategic review by MHR, the­­­­ UK’s largest children’s hospice charity based in the West Midlands has embraced new digital methods – including the automation of its payroll process and devolution of specific tasks to self-service – designed to free up more resource time to spend on planning and delivering frontline support.

Becky Mallon, Head of HR at Acorns Children’s Hospice said: “As a charity with limited resources, it is essential that our processes are as efficient as possible so we can focus more time and activities on the children and families we care for.

“For many years our payroll process was completely manual with multiple spreadsheets, resulting in time being lost on mundane administrative requirements, which needed to be streamlined and simplified, rather than on more valuable activities. Plus, with GDPR coming into force, it was critical that we updated several processes to remain compliant.”

In January 2018, MHR carried out a comprehensive review of Acorns HR and Payroll processes, identifying areas that could be optimised within its iTrent solution, and put in place a three year digitisation plan.

The first phase of transformation project involved updating its Absence process, shortly followed by the transfer of activities to Employee Self Service/Manager Self Service aimed at increasing employee engagement and empowering its people to take more ownership of their work.

Significant changes have also been made to Acorns Time and Attendance processes, with 13 different spreadsheets replaced by direct input into iTrent, reducing the amount of administration time involved.

In September 2018, a new and improved Pensions module went live following a full review from MHR’s consultants who completely re-wrote their scheme to ensure information was being processed accurately. Pensions rules were automated where possible, removing the need for manual calculations even further.

Steve Westcott, Head of Finance at Acorns Children’s Hospice said: “MHR’s strategic knowledge and technical expertise has been invaluable in transforming our organisation’s current processes. The strategic review has already generated significant benefits in the finance department, allowing resource re-allocation away from transactional processing into more value added strategic activities.
“Acorns looks forward to continuing to work with the strategic consultancy team at MHR on further recommendations that they have made which will improve our efficiency even further.”

Anton Roe, Chief Executive Officer at MHR comments: “We’re delighted to support Acorns through its transformation journey as it looks to embrace new digital methods of working and become more strategic in the way in manages its people.

“The transformation project at Acorns is a perfect example of how working closely with our strategic team, organisations can maximise the potential of iTrent to introduce best practice processes which save time and release people to focus on more valuable tasks.”