Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Regional SPF

The arrangements of the national Social Partnership Forum (SPF) are broadly replicated at a local level via the regional social partnership forums. 

The role of the regional SPFs has become increasingly prominent and integral to the delivery of national policy through partnership, often being named as the route for delivery and assurance. 

There have been significant changes to the structure of the NHS and partners will need to adapt to maintain partnerships through challenging times. However we believe this can and should be done. 

For an overview of the work and priorities of the regional SPFs you can download the national and regional SPF factsheet. This is a useful resource for sharing at meetings, events and conferences. 

The regional partnership conferences are an important event in the SPF calendar. Held in each of the four regions the conferences bring staff side colleagues and employers together to discuss issues affecting whole health economies, as well as providing the opportunity to hear about national policy developments, horizon scan, network and share good practice.

For more information on the 2016/17 conferences take a look at the regional partnership conference newsletter.

The engagement teams

The engagement teams from NHS Employers support the regional SPFs. There are four teams supporting four regions: the North, the South, the Midlands & East, and London. These teams work closely with HR Director network chairs and regional steering groups to support the delivery of HR Director network meetings and ongoing engagement. The Heads of Engagement for each are:

  • Rebecca Smith (Director of Engagement)
  • Jane Raven (Engagement North)
  • Liz Gambrell (Engagement South)
  • Gayna Deakin (Engagement Midlands & East)
  • Bernadette El-Hadidy (Engagement London)

The purpose of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) is to set out the principles across the regions, which NHS employers sign up to for the redeployment of staff at risk of redundancy. These were agreed by employers and trade unions in the regional SPFs.

The MoU can be accessed below:




East Midlands

West Midlands

East of England



The action log is a summary of the work of the regional SPFs.

Read the latest version of the action log updated in March 2019.

Members of the regional SPFs are committed to continuous improvement. To ensure their forums remain productive they use the Partnership Behaviours Tool.

The tool was developed in partnership and sets out the ten behaviours that are required for effective partnership working to take place.

Individuals are asked to rate the forums effectiveness at demonstrating these behaviours - this promotes discussion about ways to improve partnership working.

The Partnership Behaviours Tool can also be used to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in organisational partnership forums.