Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is a world-famous, multi-venue arts centre in London, with a dynamic year-round festivals programme and an inclusive ethos.


Southbank Centre is a world-famous, multi-venue arts centre in London, with a dynamic year-round festivals programme and an inclusive ethos. As the UK’s largest arts centre, Southbank Centre was founded as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951. It’s a place where people experience world-class art and culture, and it’s designed at every level to stimulate, inspire, educate and amaze.

Matthew Elliott has been with the Southbank since 2014, and hold the key planning position of Resource and Analysis Manager. His role consists primarily of:

  • Forecasting hosting costs based on planned activity by cost centre
  • Data Presentation to the Southbank Finance Team
  • Processing inbound Payroll Data for the host team, including overtime, pay rates, and time cards.

Rota Horizon is used by the Visitor Experience, Ticketing & Membership and Customer Relations Departments to create rotas for over 30 managers and 200 hosts. This means that Matthew gets plenty of working-day exposure to Rota Horizon, and he was lavish with his praise of how the system helps solve the Southbank Centre’s Staff Planning problems:

With a team of over 200 hosts working more than 30,000 shifts a year, accurately tracking attendance is an enormous and – previously — incredibly time-consuming task. However, it is also an essential one. The automation of this system offered by Rota Horizon has saved us time and greatly expanded the range of reporting and analysis we have at our disposal.


On a day-to-day basis, Matthew makes frequent use of Rota Horizon’s Workforce Management functions. Given that he’s in charge of a large population of employees doing multiple shifts, having a system that will help with this process is crucial, as Matthew explained when analysed why Southbank opted to for Rota Horizon:

“We have been using Rota Horizon for over 10 years. The introduction of the eSwipe terminals in 2014 has further enhanced the functionality of Rota Horizon – automatically highlighting incomplete shifts (those that are missing an in-swipe or an out-swipe) and other scheduling anomalies – and simplified the process of ensuring accurate data is collated for payroll.

We previously employed an outdated, paper-based, time-consuming attendance system. This involved creating and printing paper ‘sign-out sheets’ with the planned start and end times of all hosts due to work the day.

Thinking Software's Solution

By adopting Rota Horizon, we’ve left behind many hours of manual reconciliation, and besides increased accuracy, the system has saved us significant amounts of expensive and wasted Management Time. Staff Planning is faster, more responsive and certainly more effective.

Matthew cited 4 primary benefits behind his enthusiasm:

  • Increased department efficiency
  • Reduced admin workload,
  • Enhanced accuracy of both staff timekeeping and attendance data, and
  • Reduced paper and printing costs.

With Rota Horizon, it’s simple to generate precise, accurate reports that track our numerical performance indicators. Having this information readily available helps us to adjust and action our planning responses quickly. This translates into benefits that can be felt operationally.

While Matthew was particularly complimentary on how Rota Horizon has made life significantly easier operationally, he was also keen to highlight the help and advice his team receives from the Support Desk at Thinking Software.

Thinking Software’s Support Team is very helpful. They’re quick to respond to our queries, and are always eager to assist. On several occasions, they’ve adjusted standard reports in order to better suit our specific requirements.

Matthew concluded with perhaps the most important angle in any case study – would he recommend Rota Horizon and Thinking Software to others?

Yes. Both internally and externally, we have recommended Rota Horizon on many occasions.

Matthew Elliot
Resource and Analysis Manager
Southbank Centre

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