Promoting partnership working in the NHS

North of England SPF

The North of England SPF brings together management and staff side representatives on strategic workforce issues across the three sub regions in the North; Yorkshire and Humber, North West and North East.


The North of England SPF is co-chaired by Charlie Carruth, regional organiser, UNISON and Lisa Crichton-Jones, Director of Workforce Transformation, North East and North Cumbria emergent Integrated Care System. 

Latest news 

The North SPF held their annual conference on the 28 June 2019 in Horizon Leeds. The conference focused on building a great place to work, staff health and wellbeing, retention and reward and staff experience in the NHS. 

The conference was chaired by Charlie Carruth, regional officer for unison and staff chair for the North SPF, and Lisa Crichton-Jones, director of workforce transformation for the North East and North Cumbria ICS and management chair of the North SPF.

For further full details please see here

To provide a modern partnership arena for an overarching confidential discussion and debate about the strategic issues affecting the NHS workforce.

In particular it will:

  • Contribute trade union and employer perspectives to the development and implementation of policy
  • Provide constructive comments on implementation at a formative stage
  • Contribute ideas on the workforce implications of the implementation of policy
  • Promote effective communications between partners, supporting the development of the Health and Wellbeing system in the North of England
  • Promote good practice across the North of England
  • Feed North of England views into national groups including Staff Council, the Social Partnership Forum and the Stakeholder Forum and to be the conduit for national feedback to the sub-regional SPFs
  • Contribute to the strengthening of commissioning within the North of England
  • To keep the patient at the centre of everything we do.


To enable effective operation of these partnership arrangements, the partners agree to recognise and respect each other’s roles and functions which are distinct but complementary.

The partners recognise that:

  • NHS organisations have responsibility for implementing national policy
  • Trade unions have a responsibility to represent and act in the interest of their members
  • Other stakeholders will have views which will need to be taken into account

Shared approach

This partnership agreement is underpinned by shared values and common purpose. In particular, partners:

  • have a shared commitment to continuous improvement, including access to high quality services and delivering value for money to the public
  • believe the NHS should promote good practice in all areas of staff management, including equality and diversity, staff development and a commitment to security of employment
  • agree that the NHS should take a collective approach to support staff that may be affected by service changes.

Principles for effective joint working

All partners recognise the importance of good formal and informal working relations, built on trust and shared responsibility, while still respecting difference.

All partners commit to adopt these principles in their dealings with each other:

  • Mutual respect
  • A positive and constructive approach
  • Early discussion of emerging issues and maintaining dialogue on policy and priorities
  • Openness, honesty and transparency in communications
  • Where appropriate, confidentiality and agreed external positions
  • Making the best use of resources.

The membership of the North of England SPF is as follows:

  • Management side
  • Three representatives from Clinical Commissioning Group Leadership.
  • Three HR Director Lead Employers representing the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber areas.
  • One HRD representing mental health trusts.
  • Local government employers organisation representative.
  • Two commissioning support unit managing directors.
  • NHS England Director.
  • North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humber Health Education England Managing Directors.
  • Public Health England Director.
  • Head of Engagement, NHS Employers.
  • Staff Side - 15 Seats from recognised staff side organisations (a chair and a vice chair will be drawn from this group).

Key Stakeholders

Key stakeholders will be routinely invited to the North of England NHS SPF meetings. These stakeholders may include:

  • NHS Trust Development Agency Director – North.
  • National SPF members.

North of England SPF meetings are held once a year, with short life task and finish groups formed as required for specific pieces of work. Members of the North SPF can access all papers for the meetings in the regional community area of the website.

The next North SPF conference will be held on 1 May 2020 For further information on the last conference held on the 28 June 2019 please see the dedicated web page.

Please email for further details. 

For any information on the North of England SPF, or any sub-regional SPF’s, please contact:

North Engagement Team

NHS Employers

2 Brewery Wharf

Kendell Street


LS10 1JR


Twitter: @NHSE_Engagement

Tel: 0113 306 3000