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What do we mean by staff engagement and partnership working?
Good employer-employee engagement encompasses not only legal rights in relation to trade union membership and representation, and information and consultation, but also a range of activity from the sharing of information and gathering of views to working in partnership with recognised trade unions or other staff representatives on local workplace issues.
The best performing organisations have staff that are engaged with their employer and empowered to put forward ways of improving how things are done. This applies equally to both NHS and non-NHS providers of healthcare to NHS patients.
How will staff engagement and partnership working change when I transfer?
Trade union recognition may transfer under TUPE from your existing NHS employer to your new employer in certain circumstances. If you are unsure how this will apply in the case of your transfer you should speak to your line manager, your HR adviser or trade union representative. Regardless of who your new employer is following transfer, you can expect:
That your new employer is committed to the principles of effective joint working as set out in the NHS Constitution and Handbook (2009) and the NHS Partnership Agreement (2007). This means that your employer should talk to you, your trade union, your professional representative body and other stakeholders, as appropriate, about decisions that affect you and the services you provide.
Your right to remain a member of a trade union
That your employer will respect your right to either remain a member of a trade union or to join one if you wish (regardless of whether the union is recognised by your new employer or not); to be represented by a recognised trade union; and be entitled to other rights set out in employment law concerning information and consultation.
Your right of access to trade unions
Your employer is also expected to have regard to the ‘Joint Statement on Access to Skills, Trade Unions and Advice in Government Contracting’, which sets out rights in terms of access to trade unions as a source of advice about your working life, including for the provision of basic information about trade unions and legal rights concerning union membership.
In addition, if you are a member of a trade union your new employer should allow you to access and make use of the services offered by your union at a time agreed between your employer and your union. This is a legal right for members of recognised trade unions and is supported by the Statement as good practice where no such union recognition exists.
Staff experience survey
Your new employer (or the principle commissioning organisation) to undertake a staff experience survey at least once a year and you may be invited to take part. A summary of the survey results and actions in response to the results should be available to staff.
Your new employer to commit to achieving a climate of openness where you feel able to raise concerns, in a reasonable and responsible manner, on any aspect of service delivery without fear of recrimination. Your new employer should have an appropriate whistle-blowing procedure in place.
For more information on the legislation, policies, practices and supporting documents that may apply to you when you transfer visit our useful resources page.
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