NHS Employers is launching a subscription service it hopes will save the NHS “many millions” of pounds by outsourcing human resources functions.

Members signing up to an enhanced package will have their recruitment processes and criminal records bureau checks managed centrally by NHS Employers, carried out with the support of Capita.

Every HR function has at least one example of good practice. What we’re not very good at is spreading that around

Organisations would be able to save £150,000 for every £35,000 a year invested in the service and if lengthy recruitment processes were cut in half the NHS would save “many millions,” said NHS Employers director Sian Thomas.

Additional services being developed include health and well-being products and training for healthcare assistants.

Ms Thomas said: “We’re facing a difficult time for staff in the NHS and will have to focus on the well-being of the people who work for us. People need these products to help them as employers.”

Thirteen organisations have already signed up to the service and NHS Employers is aiming to increase this to 200 by March. Products will be available to the NHS, social care organisations and the voluntary sector.

Ms Thomas said the changes may mean the NHS needs to employ fewer HR staff. But she said it also meant HR professionals would be able to concentrate on adding value to organisations’ workforce functions and supporting clinical services, without the burden of bureaucratic processes. She called the quality of HR departments in the NHS “very variable”.

She said: “Every HR function has at least one example of good practice. What we’re not very good at is spreading that around. We need to learn lessons from other sectors, even within the public sector, and embrace technology.

“People haven’t had the money to go out and make the massive investment in support functions. It’s difficult for small departments.”

Initially, subscribers will have to sign up for three years. Organisations can also opt for a more basic service called “core membership”, offering existing services such as pay and pension reviews.