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The equip Programme

The Equip Programme is a Health and Social Care Northern Ireland (HSC) wide Programme to replace the existing HR and Finance systems (FPL and HRPTS). This replacement will see a new system for the functions of Finance, Procurement, Logistics, Recruitment, Human Resources (HR), Pay and Travel Management.

The Programme is about “Equipping you (the users) to focus on what matters”. It is about equipping our people with a modern, usable, and intelligent system to support them in their roles while allowing them to focus on their key responsibilities, whether that is storeroom replenishment or patient care.

The current systems are approaching the end of their contract period in 2026. The Programme represents an opportunity to address a range of the known issues experienced with the use of the current systems and business processes.  The Equip Programme will deliver an improved user experience, updated functionality and will support the removal of workarounds and off system processes associated with use of current systems. Ultimately the new system will enable us to improve our processes, our data and make people’s jobs easier.

Adopt not Adapt

One of the overarching principles underpinning the delivery of the Equip Programme is that of “Adopt not Adapt”. This represents a step change in the approach historically taken to Programmes of this nature (including the original Programme, Business Services Transformation Programme (BSTP) which implemented HRPTS and FPL) and involved the collection of extensive requirements before systems were built and adapted around those requirements. However, recent developments in the market and the technological landscape mean that suppliers of these systems are now focussing on cloud-based service provision referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. This means that customisation or bespoke builds of these systems is difficult and costly. This means that organisations need to, so far as is possible, adopt the standard system functionality and associated Global Best Practice (GBP) business processes which in turn will require a journey of standardisation.

Where we are in the process

The Programme has received full approval from both the Departments of Health and Finance for an Outline Business Case which provides funding to allow the Equip Team to go out to market for the replacement system software. This exercise was possible after extensive work with regional users to understand their requirements of any new system. The Procurement was issued in November, and it will conclude in Spring 2023.

Once a preferred system provider has been identified next year, the Programme will then tender for an Implementation Partner to help with the configuration of the chosen supplier’s software and to implement that system on behalf of HSC. This configuration and implementation work is anticipated to take 2 years, commencing in first half of 2024.
The Programme is continuing to undertake extensive work across several areas including change management, benefits, data, reporting, etc.


The Equip will impact upon all users of the current HR, Finance and PaLS systems within HSC. A detailed stakeholder analysis and mapping exercise has been undertaken by the Programme for the purposes of the Communications and Engagement Strategy, however this represents the bulk of the ~76,000 staff.