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National Social Partnership Forum

The national Social Partnership Forum (SPF) brings together NHS Employers, NHS Trade Unions, NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care to discuss and debate the development and implementation of the workforce implications of policy.

NHS Employers represents employer organisations in the NHS at the national SPF and its subgroups.

"Through the SPF, we are able to hear about policy that impacts on the health workforce and influence its development and implementation so that it delivers maximum benefits for patients. Being a member of the SPF gives NHS Employers an opportunity to build on our strong and constructive relationships with partners in the NHS Trade Unions and to work together to address issues and concerns. Partnership working also helps us to deliver products and services that better meet the needs of the NHS.” 

Danny Mortimer, Employer Chair of the SPF and Chief Executive, NHS Employers.

You can find more information on the national SPF on the SPF website.

Regional SPFs

NHS Employers' National Engagement Service (NES) facilitates partnership working at a regional level through co-ordination of the regional SPFs. 

For an overview on how the NES is supporting employers, see our NES infographic.

Regional SPFs enable employers and trade unions to contribute to the implementation of policy that impacts on the health workforce in their region. These forums allow members to feed in views to the national SPF and other national committees such as the NHS Staff Council, facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practice, and enable a collective approach to resolving regional workforce issues. 

More information on the regional SPFs, including how to get involved in your regional forum, is available on the regional SPF section of the SPF website.

HPMA Partnership Award 

The SPF sponsors the HPMA award for partnership working between employers and trade unions in the provision of health and social care. For more information on the award and to read case studies from finalists and winners see the SPF website

Resources on the SPF website to support employers

  • Case studies sharing learning and good practice, where employers and trade unions work in partnership to meet challenges and achieve agreed goals.
  • Guidance for social partnership working in developing and implementing new care models and system transformation can be found on the supporting system change web page of the SPF website. The guidance, published in September 2016 aims to support the development of partnership arrangements at cross organisational/new care model and regional level to facilitate effective system change.
  • SPF staff transfer guide is an online toolkit designed to support staff who are facing transfer to providers of NHS funded services in England. It is an easy to use, practical guide to an individual's employment standards and rights.
  • Raising concerns (whistleblowing) links to the national whistleblowing policy and helpful guidance for employers on enabling and encouraging staff to raise concerns. 
  • Francis - SPF key messages includes six key messages from the SPF in response to the findings and recommendations of the Francis report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry. The key messages include links to related information and resources from the SPF and partner organisations.
  • Learning for life - during 2013/14 the SPF ran a campaign to increase awareness of workplace learning, providing useful tools and guidance to help organisations promote a workplace learning culture. Many of the resources developed for the campaign are still relevant and remain available on the SPF website.
  • Memoranda of Understanding set out the principles across four regions (North, South, Midlands and East and London) 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.
  • Health and wellbeing on the SPF website signposts tools and resources from partner organisations to support the wellbeing of staff.

SPF bulletin

The SPF bulletin provides the latest news from the SPF and its subgroups. To subscribe to the SPF bulletin and SPF news alerts email subscribe to: 


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