Working in partnership


Our organisation has overview and responsibility for delivering a number of workforce related programmes including employment practice in relation to raising concerns which are in the public interest.

NHS Employers is not a prescribed body nor do we have a role in regulating NHS organisations. Our part in the system is quite unique compared to other national bodies.

Our primary focus is to:

  • Support NHS organisations in secondary care to instil a positive reporting culture. We do this by providing advice, guidance and resources to help employers review and improve local arrangements so that staff feel confident to raise and handle public interest concerns. We facilitate events, networks and forums for HR and senior management teams so that they gain a greater understanding about changes across the system and can consider how this may impact local employment practice.
  • Represent NHS organisations by providing an employers’ perspective to policy makers across the Department of Health (DH), National Guardian's Office, NHS Improvement and other key national bodies. We work with the HR community and board level members to ensure any changes to regulatory requirements, policy direction or legislation continues to be appropriate and proportionate to achieving high quality and safe patient services and care.

In this section you can find out more about the Speaking Up Charter, the national bodies we work with and how we engage with employers. 

Speaking Up Charter 

We are signed up to the 2012 Speaking Up Charter which outlines a commitment to work more effectively together to create a just culture which is more open and transparent. The key purpose of the Charter was to recognise that in order to enable a cultural shift in the NHS, we need to ensure that leadership comes from national organisations. Over 30 organisations pledged a commitment to leading the way on this agenda as independent organisations; recognising their separate but linked responsibilities for key aspects of the provision and regulation of care, and for supporting their staff and members to provide high quality, safe care.

Download the Speaking Up Charter

National bodies we work with

We work with a number of national bodies to help influence system-wide change through consultations, calls for evidence and reviews. These include:
  • The Department of Health
  • NHS Improvement
  • The Care Quality Commission
  • NHS England
  • The National Guardian's Office
  • Health Education England
and other charity bodies, such as:
  • Public Concern at Work 
  • - an independent and confidential helpline

Our work with employers

We work closely with employers in NHS trusts to help organisations foster the right culture which enables staff to raise and handle concerns effectively. 

Here we describe the virtual and face to face networks we use to engage with employers, and our responses to various consultations and reviews. We have also provided links to a range of our programmes and campaigns which are designed to help employers improve their local culture, and a list of forums and bulletins that you can join or subscribe to, to ensure you remain up to date with latest developments and good practice.

Employers virtual expert network

We maintain a strong employer virtual network of over 240 HR experts and managers who regularly feed into requests for information with the key aim of influencing and informing change, and sharing local learning and good practice. If you would like to join the network and receive our quarterly raising concerns newsletter, please email

Employers share and learn forum

To support employers with embedding and enhancing a positive and responsive culture in their organisation, we run a share and learn forum twice a year. The forum is designed to identify good practice, inform employers of national developments and help facilitate a system-wide approach to culture change. 

Find out more in our raising concerns share and learn forum web section and visit our events pageto secure your place at our next interactive forums in September 2017 and March 2018. These forums are designed for the HR community and senior managers. Freedom to Speak Up (FTSU) guardians are encouraged to prioritise National Guardian's Office events and engagement opportunities which are more specific to them but are welcome to join our employer forums to facilitate partnership working.

Consultation and review responses

Here you can find a list of the most recent public consultations and reviews we have responded to on behalf of employers in relation to raising concerns (in order of latest first). If you'd like to find out more about some of the older consultations and responses please use the 'raising concerns' filter search within the news section.
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  • NHS Employers response to Department of Health consultation on protected disclosure regulations (June 2017)
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  • Department of Health publishes response to 'safe space' (April rel="noopener noreferrer" 2017)   
  • Department of Health consultationon protected disclosure regulations (March 2017)
  • NHS Employers response to the 'safe space' consultation (January 2017) 
  • NHS Employers response to a new national whistleblowing policy for the NHS (January 2016)
  • NHS Standard Contract consultation by NHS England (February 2016)
  • NHS Employers response to CQC national guardian for the NHS consultation (December 2015)

Improving staff experience

To support employers to recruit the right staff with the right skills and ensure they have a positive experience during employment, we have a number of programmes, campaigns, tools and resources specifically designed to help employers achieve this.

Click through the sections below for more information, including how you can access our resources:

Stay updated 

Our weekly workforce bulletin provides HR practitioners and leaders with relevant news and updates. Find out more including how to subscribe.

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