National SPF achievements in 2022/23
Learn how we supported social partnership working in the NHS and effective employer/trade union involvement in policies with workforce implications.
Improving policy development and implementation
We contributed to:
- the Government’s living with COVID-19 strategy, flu and COVID-19 vaccination programmes, and testing for COVID-19
- staff and service recovery following the height of the pandemic
- Health Education England’s review and update of Framework 15, which looked at the key drivers for workforce demand and supply and the shape of the future NHS workforce
- winter workforce preparedness
- supporting civility and respect in NHS workplaces, building on our work around creating a culture of civility, compassion and respect in the NHS
- staff health and wellbeing, including NHS England’s (NHSE) growing Occupational Health and Wellbeing Strategy
- NHSE equality, diversity and inclusion strategy and improving recruitment and promotion practices
- preventing and reducing violence in the NHS
- the Health and Social Care Review: Leadership for a Collaborative and Inclusive Future
- NHSE development of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan
- the Urgent and Emergency Care Strategy
- taking forward recommendations from The Future of NHS Human Resources and Organisational Development report
- the Health and Care Act 2022 and its ambition to remove obstacles to integrated working between health, care, and other public and voluntary services
- the Hewitt Review – An Independent Review of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).
Supporting the NHS workforce
- We co-developed the Violence Prevention and Reduction (VPR) Standard: Guidance through the Violence Reduction Subgroup (VRS). This was jointly branded NHS and SPF and was published in June 2022. The guidance supports the delivery of the VPR Standard. We have also been involved in the refresh of the VPR Standard that took place in early 2023. Once published, the refreshed standard will provide a more user-friendly resource for NHS organisations to ensure they are protecting their staff and meeting the requirements of health and safety legislation.
- We continued to add links to resources on a dedicated web page on the SPF website, which can be used by employers in the NHS to support the health and wellbeing of their staff.
- We updated HR Framework FAQs, which were developed in partnership with our Transition Partnership Group (TPG). The TPG also agreed a further set of FAQs. Both FAQs supported the workforce element of the transition arising from the Health and Care Act 2022, with staff moving from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to integrated care boards (ICBs). See our supporting system change web page for the FAQs.
- Along with regional SPF representatives, we contributed to the development of a local people policies framework and the first two national people policies, which cover pregnancy and baby loss, and menopause. These good practice policies can be adopted by NHS organisations, resulting in improved ways of working and better support for staff.
- Through our Workforce Issues Group, we supported NHSE to develop a team wellbeing guide. This was published on the NHSE website in April 2023.
- We supported NHS Employers and the Job Evaluation Group of the NHS Staff Council with the development of Guidance for ICBs on Job Evaluation and Equal Pay.
Promoting good practice partnership working
- The national SPF sponsors the HPMA award for partnership working between employers and trade unions to help identify, celebrate, and promote successful social partnership working. The 2022 award finalists were showcased in a HPMA webinar in July 2022.
- We produced the following case studies illustrating good practice examples of partnership working, including one on the 2022 HPMA partnership award winner and other notable entries:
- Employer with heart – pregnancy loss policy in partnership with trade union colleagues, Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust.
- Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse Toolkit for staff, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (2022 HPMA partnership award winner).
- Improving wellbeing through partnership, Sheffield Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust.
- Partnership working across health and care in Greater Manchester.
- We facilitated five visits from members of the national SPF to regional SPF meetings to support the sharing of information and enable a co-ordinated approach to partnership working.
- We updated the SPF partnership agreement.
- We developed a template framework and agreement for ICB trade union partnership forums, through the TPG.
- We produced principles for partnership working across an ICS. These were agreed by the national SPF co-chairs and published in September 2022. They aim to ensure the workforce implications of system change are supported through partnership discussions with trade unions at all levels.
- We published a web page signposting useful resources on tackling racism in the NHS.
- We maintained our Health and care jargon buster.
- We created a what is the NHS Social Partnership Forum? animation and an SPF structure infographic to increase knowledge of the SPF and how it operates.
Statements from the national SPF
- In September 2022, we published a joint statement to encourage staff to complete the 2022 NHS Staff Survey, agreed with NHSE colleagues.
- In November 2022, we published an industrial relations statement to trade union and employer colleagues. This highlighted the importance of continuing partnership working at all levels of the NHS during the period of challenging industrial relations.
- In March 2022, we released a statement in response to the 2022 NHS staff survey results to highlight results of note, linked to our priorities for 2022/23.
Our regular communications include:
- Monthly SPF bulletins to communicate information about the work of the SPF and key workforce developments.
- Key comms from the Wider Group meetings.
- Creating and sharing content on Twitter @NationalSPF.
- We undertook an evaluation on how successfully the TPG supported the movement of staff from CCGs to ICBs. An ICS TPG evaluation report summarising the review’s findings was published on the SPF website in October 2022.
- We completed a heat check on the national SPF in 2022. The resulting heat check report, which includes recommendations on how the national forum could improve how it operates, was published in January 2023.