What is shift auto-cascade and how do I set it up?

Find out what auto-cascading of shifts includes and how to set it up for your organisation.

When managing large volumes of bank or agency shifts, auto-cascade allows you to quickly and efficiently engage agencies in a controlled way. Auto-cascading allows you to set up rules based on agency tiers and shift start dates to help fill outstanding demand with as little manual intervention as possible. It's also possible to automate the process of sending shifts from bank to agency. 

Previously, shifts were assigned to agencies based on pre-established tiers. With auto-cascade, you can now create rules that determine how shifts move through tiers if they remain unfilled.

Auto-cascade rules apply to both shifts and blocks when enabled. 

Please note, Patchwork users (admins and managers) will require an 'auto-cascade' permission to be toggled on for their account before they can add/amend auto- cascade rules. 

How do rules work?

Rules are based on the urgency of the shift i.e. how many days until that shift is due to start. From there, a user can determine how they want a shift/block to move between tiers either in minutes, hours or days from when it arrived at the previous tier.


  1. When a shift is due to start in 10 days, I want it to automatically be sent to agency
  2. When a shift is sent to agency and is due to start in 7 days, I want it to:
  • Go from tier 1 to tier 2 after 1 day
  • Go to tier 2 to tier 3 after 1 day
  • Go to tier 3 to tier 5 after 1 day

Cascade rules will only apply to shifts or blocks at the point they are sent to agency.

How many rules can I set? 

You can set as many rules as you like, the only limit being up to the highest tier enabled for that staff group.

Can I set multiple rules for a department?

Yes. You can also set multiple rules per department, per staff group e.g. 2 rules for Medical Cardiology. In this case, only one rule can be active. A use case for this may be strikes, winter pressures, Christmas etc, where a department may want to set different rules, but not have to edit the existing set of rules.

How granular can I make auto-cascade rules?

You can set rules per staff group and apply those rules at the department level.

Can I amend or delete rules? 

Users with the appropriate permissions can amend rules in the auto-cascade feature. Any changes made to auto-cascade rules will apply to shifts sent to agencies after the modification. Shifts that have already been sent to agency will retain the rules they had at the time of sending. Similarly, users with permission can delete or remove rules, which will stop them from being applied to future shifts or blocks. However, shifts or blocks already sent to agencies will continue to follow the rule in place at the time of sending.

Is it possible to prevent rules from being applied?

You can stop rules being applied by deactivating the rule or deleting the rule from the auto-cascade page under the “Agencies” tab.

Can I send to a specific agency? 

Not yet but this is something we'll be looking into in the future

How do I turn on auto-cascade?

If you're interested in turning this function on, please get in touch with the Customer Care team on help@patchwork.health