National Engagement Service

NHS Employers' national engagement service comprises four regional teams: London, Midlands and East, North, and South.
Image of delegates listening to a presentation

We work alongside employers, supporting them to develop a sustainable workforce, improve staff experience and be the best employer they can be. We know that this is the key ingredient to providing excellent high-quality care.

Our operating model continues to be refined to take account of the changing health and care system landscape and the needs of our key stakeholders. Currently each geographical region across the country (North, Midlands and East, London and South) has its own designated assistant director of engagement lead that is supported by a small team to deliver engagement and communications activities. 

Each team has its own network of HR directors and together they provide an engagement service that covers the whole of England.

    • Leading key areas of workforce and employment policy, working in partnership with trade union and staff organisations
    • Facilitating networks of workforce leaders to connect, share good practice and influence policy
    • Acting as the voice of employers, representing their views in the service of their people, patients and communities
    • Supporting employers with resources to improve the experience of their people, and hence their patients.
    • Building and maintaining purposeful and trusted relationships.

    Our peer networks of workforce leaders are characterised by collective participation, shared value, common purpose, co-operative structures, collective intelligence and a sense of community. These networks run at ICS, regional and national level and we also have a range of personalised relationships at a local and individual level.

    We run a responsive and refined process for sharing intelligence and insights that enables us to influence policy development at a national level.

    Enhancing and promoting partnership working between employers and trade unions is an important part of our purpose and one which we excel at through jointly championing positive working cultures. We enable effective connectivity between national and regional social partnership priorities for action through our national and regional partnership forums.

  • Connect

    To connect with HR directors (HRDs) through our regional networks so we can share learning and best practice.


    To ensure that HRDs are kept up to date on current issues, key developments and information from across the healthcare system.


    To highlight opportunities where the HRD community can influence and shape policy as well as the implementation plans, in order to meet their needs.


    To stimulate discussion and innovation amongst HR professionals by exploring the latest research and thinking within HR practice.

    As part of our aims we deliver the following main areas of work:

    • We work with the chairs from the regional networks to deliver stimulating and engaging network meetings.
    • We support the sharing of intelligence to help shape and influence policy developments as well as implementation.
    • We identify opportunities to connect with other leaders on the executive boards within trusts, who influence organisational effectiveness.
  • AgiLab is a collaboration between experts within the Social Partnership Forum (SPF), national engagement service and the University of Sussex. Its purpose is to develop and share research-led best practices for effective agile working and help inform policies within the NHS. AgiLab undertakes research to investigate key concerns raised by NHS workers and practitioners. Research findings are shared with NHS organisations through a series of triannual webinars and our website.

    Agile working involves using digital tools and innovative practices to free employees and organisation from rigid one size fits all working arrangements relating to time, place and role. 

    AgiLab has supported employers of NHS trusts and organisations to:

    • understand the agile working needs of workers living in low-income households, including digital accessibility
    • understand how leaders can facilitate effective agile working for staff using professional intimacy
    • understand the legal elements of agile working
    • understand how agile working might address staff retention and satisfaction, including well-being and performance
    • manage the work life interface and the hidden challenges of working from home.