The national SPF has agreed, from October 2020 onwards, to end the temporary arrangements, as set out in their industrial relations (IR) statements covering April to June and July to September. Instead employers and trade unions will need to keep under review their local IR arrangements. For more information, including key points on supporting positive employee relations and guidance on building just and learning cultures, see the Social Partnership Forum website.
The NHS is committed to the principles of partnership working and staff involvement. Partnership underpins and facilitates the development of sound and effective employee relations throughout the NHS. The participation of trade union representatives in the partnership process and effective staff engagement can contribute to delivering improved services to patients and users.
The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to have a major impact on the workforce and service provision and it is essential these principles are maintained. By working together in partnership, employers and trade unions can help ensure measures related to staff policies and procedures are fair, safe and as effective as possible.
It is recognised that during this period, trade union and other staff representatives may require additional time off and facilities to fully participate in local partnership processes. Employers should ensure representatives are allowed the time and facilities needed to carry out their duties and be fully involved in the local partnership arrangements, in order to best support staff.