London SPF conference – partnership working in the new normal: now and beyond

Read the highlights and access presentations from the 2022 London SPF conference.

27 October 2022

The 2022 London SPF conference was hosted by UNISON at their national headquarters. The conference was co-chaired by the London SPF co-chairs Phil Thompson, UNISON and Jinjer Kandola, chief executive, Barnett, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust alongside Debbie Eakins, UNISON, and Tanya Carter, co-chair of the London HR director network. This year’s conference was entitled “Partnership working in the new normal: now and beyond”.

The event focused on reflecting on the past few years, what is happening in the NHS and its systems currently, and exciting interventions for the future. It opened with a short video acknowledging the wonderful work of the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a minute’s silence to remember lost colleagues, friends and family

Keynote speakers Rebecca Smith, director of systems and the SPF, NHS Employers, and Sara Gorton, head of health, UNISON then discussed the importance of partnership working during troubled times and the impact of national SPF priorities on local partnership working.

CMP Solutions, specialists in workplace relationship development, led a session on creating ‘clear air’ to help build a just and fair culture. Dr Adrian Wright, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) shared the findings of a report undertaken by the UCLan and commissioned by CMP and the Healthcare People Management Association, and led on the state of NHS employment relations across the UK. Following this, Professor James Buchan, The Health Foundation, presented on the profile and dynamics of the healthcare workforce in London.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation shared key insights on in-work poverty and recommendations for employers. This was followed by a tablework session in which delegates were asked to consider the successes and challenges associated with one of six topics: flexible working, pay, cost of living, health & wellbeing, equality and diversity, and sustainability.

Martin Machray, executive director of performance, NHSE reflected on the challenges of managing COVID-19 and the current challenges facing the London health and care system.

Delegates were then invited to attend two of three breakout sessions:

  • #Inclusive HR - a social movement recognising and aiming to address racial inequalities in HR & organisational development
  • Creating LGBT+ inclusive healthcare environments for patients and implementing the NHS Rainbow Badge Assessment programme
  • Embracing Difference: neurodiversity in the workplace

Finally, Dr Pat Oakley, shared a fascinating glimpse into the future of medical science, and SPF co-chairs reflected on the day and the work of the London SPF.

The conference was well evaluated, attendees surveyed gave the day an overall score of four out of five and 100 per cent of survey respondents strongly agreed/agreed that the conference had informed them of the latest thinking and developments in partnership working across London. Respondents overall said partnership working is a positive influence in their organisation and that respected relationships foster staff voices being heard.