We caught up with James Paterson, founder of paperwork automation company Plainly.com, about the administrative implications of vaccine compliance and how they are helping care home groups tackle it.
CHP: What additional paperwork is likely to result from the legislation around mandatory vaccination?
JP: We’ve been talking to our HR contacts and the consensus is that the legislation brings plenty of additional paperwork, especially in relation to existing employees. There will need to be a period of consultation with employees about the changes, followed by amendments to paperwork. Given the timeframe around this legislation the reality is these may be happening in tandem.
For existing employees there are three main administrative considerations; first, updating key documents such as handbooks and disciplinary procedures and ensuring these are communicated. Then, recontracting with updated terms of employment and finally collecting and recording proof of vaccination in a way that is accessible for potential CQC inspection.
With new employees, making offer letters and the onboarding criteria conditional on proof of vaccination as well as updating job ads will likely bring additional changes to standard documentation. In my view, this is a real opportunity for technology to be used within HR processes.
The ability to be agile and ensure the administrative side of vaccine compliance is as pain free as possible is essential to ensure the human side of this complex issue can be sensitively handled.
CHP: What is the biggest consideration for care homes?
JP: The biggest consideration is timing and the implications on staffing levels of non compliance. How do you complete all the necessary paperwork quickly, at scale, in an already stretched industry with a workforce that has been under intense pressure for the past 18 months? The admin needs to be light touch, simple and easily auditable for compliance purposes.
Each care home group will have their specific requirements but they will likely be a variation on some core steps. If these steps are automated and can be actioned by employees with only a couple of clicks, rates of compliance will be higher and the new legislation will be less burdensome on care providers.
CHP: You run a tech company that promises to simplify people’s admin. How do you think you can help care providers with mandatory vaccination legislation?
JP: The biggest admin challenge in our view will be recontracting with existing employees while collecting evidence that they are fully vaccinated. We’ve scoped an example recontracting and evidence-collection process and built a demo to show how easily and quickly the likely paperwork could be completed via automation.
Employee details are bulk uploaded to Plainly, our system then automatically emails each employee explaining the necessary changes to their contract and taking them through a simple step-by-step process so they can provide evidence of vaccinations and sign an contract amendment form via secure e-signature.
Auto-reminders are scheduled for employees who don’t sign and our reporting suite allows HR or admin teams to instantly view the status of where everyone is in the process. Every step, communication, document and piece of evidence is securely tracked and with one click can be outputted in a detailed audit trail for the CQC or any other stakeholder.
In order to communicate to, recontract with and collect documentation from their entire staff, an HR professional’s only action could be to upload one spreadsheet. Plainly automatically handles everything else!
CHP: Why are you interested in the care sector, when your background is very different?
JP: My professional background is in law and financial services. Both sectors are burdened with complexity and regulatory challenges and I have seen too many examples of time consuming admin being a costly and wasteful distraction. From this frustration, I created
Plainly.com, believing the key to solving admin problems has to be simplicity, both in implementation and use.
So many tech solutions haven’t been designed with the end user in mind or are very inflexible (and expensive) if you want anything that deviates from the out of the box solution and I wanted to prove this didn’t have to be the case.
Why the care sector? Because of the huge challenges the care sector is facing, its administrative complexities and regulatory overlay. We see care as a great proving ground for our technology – if we can solve the care sector’s admin, we can solve anyones! I’ve been really excited by the tangible impact we’ve been able to have in streamlining things such as recruitment and admissions for our care sector clients. This is an industry doing so much good against such overwhelming odds that it is a privilege to contribute in any way at all.