Mid Cheshire Hospitals FT – tailoring the KSF forms


04 / 11 / 2010

The organisation
What we did and why
How we did it
Results and next steps
Tips for other trusts


The organisation

MCHFT is an acute trust with over 3,000 staff, which became a foundation trust in 2008. MCHFT covers Leighton in Crewe, Victoria Infirmary Northwich and Elmhurst Intermediate Care Centre in Winsford. The trust has a purpose-built treatment centre specialising in day surgery and opened an onsite MacMillan cancer centre in 2008.


What we did and why

MCHFT has a record of achieving high numbers of staff receiving their KSF appraisal and who have KSF outlines for their post. In 2009, against the backdrop of increasing work pressures, staff appraisal rates dropped to 70 per cent.

After audit and consultation with staff side and HR colleagues, it was agreed that the paperwork and collection of evidence may have been contributing to the declining numbers. In March 2010 the trust's appraisal  forms were re-designed to capture both the KSF and the core objectives that were important to the trust.

This followed consultation with HR staff, divisional and nursing leads and staff side colleagues, ensuring that the documentation fits with the trust’s strategic direction, values and behaviours.

The move ensured that the appraisal system  retained the core of the KSF criteria, but  had a ‘golden thread’ that linked the trust’s top ten objectives with the ten divisional key objectives,  ward and department level objectives and, as part of the appraisal, linking the individual objectives and roles back into the overall aims.


How we did it

A draft of the new documentation was produced and circulated to senior managers and staff side for comment. After a few small changes, the new approach was trialled for three months.

Staff feedback said that everything was clearer, easier to complete and tied every individual to the trust’s overall agenda.  Staff also felt feedback that it enabled real, honest discussions between staff and line managers,  and the quality of appraisal conversations  was improving.

By June 2010, all of the trust was using the paperwork and stating that it was easier to work with than the previous model.

Staff who are working above the levels required in their job descriptions and KSF outlines, are now clearly evident and can be put forward for management development programmes, making talent management and succession planning more transparent.


Results and next steps

Audits undertaken so far, suggest that the quality and coverage of appraisals has improved.

Following the implementation of the new paperwork, the 2009 staff survey results showed that MCHFT was in the top 20 per cent for the number of staff appraised over the previous year and the number of staff with a personal development plan.

The trust was above average for staff reporting that they had a well structured appraisal, with figures up by 5 per cent from 2008. Staff job satisfaction figures increased by 7 per cent from 2008 and the number of staff receiving an appraisal has increased so the trust believes it is on-track to  hit its 90 per cent target by March 2011.

The KSF database, developed in house, will continue to be maintained so that accurate, ESR-based reporting can be given to managers on request.


Tips for other trusts

  • Use the KSF as a basis but build in your own organisation's values, behaviours and objectives.
  • Audit regularly and change things where necessary
  • Use the KSF in all areas of the trust, for example recruitment and development programmes, to embed it into the culture.
  • Engage staff side colleagues early and on an on-going basis.



Lisa Gresty
Leadership and management development manager
Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust
01270 273711


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