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Case Study

Central England Co-operative Society Reduces Time to Process Records by 97%

10,000 colleague records cleared to comply with UK regulations
30x faster processing of shift updates
Improved experience for frontline colleagues and HR teams
"Intelligent automation is not only helping improve the colleague experience for us, but it’s also keeping us legal and compliant with legislation in the UK. For me, these two things demonstrate the power of the technology.”"
Scott Worth Performance and Productivity Improvement Manager

Central England Co-operative has 8,500 employees across 400 trading sites, serving 250,000 members. It’s one of the UK’s biggest independent retailers. With so many colleagues, simple things like shift adjustments and colleague account deletions were increasing. Since each task had to be completed manually, HR colleagues were inundated with repetitive work. The Society needed a more efficient way to support the HR team, and they found it with a Blue Prism digital workforce.


Central England Co-operative trades across 16 counties in the UK at 250 food stores, 150 funeral homes, and a number of fuel stations, florists, and masonry outlets. To deliver this broad range of services for its members, the Society needs a workforce of about 8,500 colleagues. UK regulations stipulate that after a colleague leaves, the employer must maintain their records for seven years, after which it must immediately delete them. Each year, the Society turns over about 2,000 colleagues. Consequently, it had a large quantity of records it needed to delete in a very specific timeframe.

Complicating matters, the Society was also challenged with keeping track of adjustments to colleagues shifts. Each month, around 200 adjustments were being made, but it was taking up to 30 days to update them. If this task wasn’t carried out, this could have resulted in an inaccurate tally of hours worked resulting in colleagues being underpaid or overpaid.


The Society ran an efficiency evaluation and found that there were quite a few processes ripe for automation. So, it brought in a team of Blue Prism digital workers to lend a hand, and the results have been impressive. To date, the digital workers working alongside the HR department have processed and cleared more than 10,000 employee records from their database. Now, colleagues who had been completing the removal tasks manually can focus on more interesting value adding activities. A major outcome of this automation is that the Society is confident it remains compliant with UK government regulations.

Additionally, when colleagues adjust their hours or move to a different location, those amendment emails are automatically picked up and actioned by the digital workforce. Where a shift adjustment previously took up to 30 days to process during peak times, the Society can now update its systems in just 24 hours. Not only has the deployment of intelligent automation helped the Society stay on top of its regulatory obligations and processing, it’s also greatly improved the experience for colleagues.

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