Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Supporting system change

Partnership working in developing integrated care

The SPF is supporting effective partnership working in system transformation. In May 2016, the national SPF wrote a letter to the leads of the STP footprints regarding partnership working and staff engagement in the STPs. The letter was sent to the STP leads by the strategic programme office for the Five Year Forward View as part of wider advice on engagement.

At the Workforce Issues Group (WIG) meeting in July 2016 there were roundtable discussions led by the new care models team and vanguard representatives on a number of topics related to integrating care. One of the discussions centred around engagement with staff and trade unions in new care models and the STPs. Following this session, guidance for social partnership working in developing and implementing new care models and system transformation was developed by the SPF, the new care models team and STP representatives. The guidance, published in September 2016, builds on the letter from the SPF to STP leads and aims to support the development of partnership arrangements at cross organisational/new care model and regional level to facilitate effective system change. 

System change - jargon buster 

The health and care system uses numerous abbreviations and terminology that can be confusing. In addition, ongoing improvement plans at a national, regional and local level can mean that different parts of the system are sometimes using the same terminology to refer to different things. In response, the SPF has produced a simple to use jargon buster and guide on system change. This guide is aimed at staff working across the NHS and the wider health and care system, to assist them with understanding new terminology and system improvement plans. It was last updated in March 2019.

If there are any additions you think should be added to the jargon buster, please tell us by emailing

SPF staff transfer guide

The SPF is committed to supporting staff through change and transfer. The staff transfer guide has been developed in partnership, and is an online toolkit designed to support staff who are facing transfer to providers of NHS funded services in England. The easy to use practical guide which has been developed to explain what employment standards staff have the right to expect wherever they work in the NHS. It applies to all staff in England whether they work directly for an NHS employer or for an organisation contracted to undertake NHS work. It provides essential information should staff transfer between one employer and another. The guide is available on the SPF priority areas web page.

HR transition documents

Guidance that was developed in partnership to support the transition arising from the Health and Social Care Act 2012, has been republished and is now available on the SPF website. This contains useful good practice, which could be used in future transition exercises.