Horizon scanning 2018


Take a look at some of the activities coming up across the NHS from January to March 2018 and beyond. Our horizon-scanning page details events and activities that HRDs need to be aware of, or that require action, as well as useful information and resources to support you. 

To help you navigate through to the most relevant information we have broken down the web page into five areas: supply, pay and reward, new ways of working, staff experience, and other and events.

If you have any suggestions for content, please email nationalengagement@nhsemployers.org.   


Date Information and resources
January 2018

Apprenticeships and education: The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have employed four regional leads, hosted by Health Education England (HEE), to devise toolkits which aim to help employers maximise access to the levy. We are looking at the detail of how they will be working and will share key information with HRDs when available.

The Department for Education are consulting on the implementation of T levels. We will be responding to this consultation, highlighting the opportunities and challenges this new educational approach and qualification provides. If you would like to share your views or discuss our response please contact Heidi Williams.

Future immigration policy: A Home Office consultation on the future immigration arrangements post-Brexit is anticipated shortly. We will be leading engagement with employers to influence policy discussions and will submit a formal response to the consultation.

Nursing associate role – funding support: HEE has announced that it will be supporting the implementation of 5,000 nursing associate places with additional funding support for employers. The nursing associate apprenticeship standard will be the delivery model for this programme. HEE will be contacting Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) workforce leads to consider sustainable routes for this role. Take a look at our news article for more information.

March 2018 and beyond

National health and care workforce strategy: We would encourage HRDs to share the slides developed by NHS Employers with their executive team colleagues when developing responses to the consultation. The consultation is open until 23 March 2018, with a final agreed strategy expected to be published in July 2018 and updated annually. We will be consulting widely with employers over the coming months to provide a strong response to this draft strategy.

Supporting the Armed Forces in the NHS: The Military March campaign will take place in March 2018. Now in its fourth year, the focus will be on four main themes:  the business case, how to support the Armed Forces practically, who are the people we are supporting and how to gain public recognition for your organisations support. Throughout February and March regional Armed Forces networks will be held in local military units to further raise awareness of supporting reservists within your workforce. These networks will also provide good practice and networking opportunities and to create local relationships with service charities. HRDs are encouraged to support and attend these networks. The Step into Health programme continues to work with employers to attract people from the Armed Forces into the NHS. A webinar will be held in March for those in contact with the Armed Forces community to highlight the opportunities available within the NHS and raise awareness of those organisations who have pledged their support. 

Pay and reward

 Date Information and resources
January 2018

Annual leave and worker status: HRDs are asked to be mindful that given the uncertainty and developing case law in this area, it is more important than ever that employers give very careful consideration to the nature of the relationship with staff working under atypical relationships, and contractual documentation governing the relationships should be carefully drafted to reflect the genuine practical arrangements. Take a look at Capsticks briefing on the topic. 

Agenda for Change: NHS Employers is currently negotiating with the National Staff Council in this area on possible pay and terms and conditions changes as part of a possible pay deal. Sub-groups have being established to sense check and support discussions. HRDs are advised that their support is likely to be requested in terms of providing current data sets and policies as part of these negotiations. We would like to thank those HRDs who have already helped us with this work to date.

Written evidence to the NHS review bodies: Evidence has now been submitted and publication is anticipated in January. HRDs are encouraged to note that there may be a need for supplementary evidence. Oral evidence to the review will be given during February and a final report is anticipated for publication during May.   

February 2018 Rewards: HRDs are encouraged to review our latest tools, including a reward evaluation template, and case studies available via the website.  A reward communication toolkit for employers will go live during February 2018.    
March 2018 and beyond  Gender pay gap reporting: HRDs are encouraged to ensure that they are prepared for publication of gender pay gap reporting ahead of 30 March 2018. Electronic Staff Records (ESR) have now released details of the amended reporting processes to support this. NHS Employers are developing a webinar, supported by Capsticks, focusing on encouraging employers to consider proactive communications setting out clear context behind the gaps identified and proposed actions to address the gap. The webinar will take place on 1 March from 10:00. Take a look at our news article for more information.              

Deductions from contributions at source (DOCAS): HRDs are reminded that from 10 March 2018, new DOCAS agreements must be in place to ensure a 'reasonable fee' is being paid wherever employers deduct union subs directly from staff wages, and staff must have the option of having their subs taken by another means. The NHS staff council has jointly agreed an advice note on employer level agreements for the deduction of contributions at source (DOCAS).

Taxation of termination payments – changes: The government plans to make changes to the taxation of termination payments from April 2018. The proposals include the removal of the distinction between contractual and non-contractual payments in lieu of notice (PILONs) so that all PILONs are taxable and subject to Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs). This will ensure that the first £30,000 of a termination payment remains exempt from income tax and that any payment paid to any employee that relates solely to the termination of the employment continues to have an unlimited employee NICs exemption. This will align the rules for income tax and employer NICs so that employer NICs will be payable on payments above £30,000 (which are currently only subject to income tax).

Consultant contract: The full programme of consultant contract reform has been paused, however work is ongoing to reach agreement on a transitional framework for clinical excellence awards effective April 2018. Ratification is required from the Health Secretary and HM Treasury. Therefore an announcement is not anticipated until the end of January, with arrangements to come into place from April 2018. NHS Employers are in the process of developing supporting guidance and tools for employers, HRDs feedback on these would be greatly appreciated.

Pensions: The NHS Pension Scheme Advisory Board (SAB) has been asked by the Department of Health to consider the design of member contributions from April 2019. SAB will provide their advice to the Department of Health by summer 2018. A key driver behind the review is to ensure the required contribution yield is met. At Party Conference the Health Secretary referenced that nurses may be able to choose their own pension contribution levels in the future. The NHS Employers pensions team will shortly publish a presentation pack designed to support employers deliver pension presentations to staff.  Links will be shared as soon as the pack is available.

New ways of working

Date Information and resources
January 2018

Regulatory reform consultation: We will be submitting a formal response to this consultation on behalf of employers on 23 January 2018. HRDs were encouraged to provide a response to our online survey by 12 January. Briefings and discussions were also conducted through policy board, the workforce supply reference group, medical workforce forum and other scheduled HRD networks, to ensure any future developments in regulatory reform takes into account the needs of employers.

Employment tribunal fees refund scheme: HRDs are encouraged to note that reports of a significant increase in submissions is leading to delays in hearing dates.

March 2018 and beyond

Doctors in Training (DiT) – Improving recruitment, induction and rotation process for doctors in training.  The DiT streamlining pilot programme will conclude in April 2018. Full details of the process, and associated guidance and documentation, will be launched to support employers when the pilot is concluded.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR will come into effect in May 2018, replacing existing data protection legislation. HRDs are encouraged to ensure that they are aware of the relevant changes to be introduced by GDPR and to ensure that policies, contractual documents and training are compliant with the new requirements by May. NHS Employers has jointly produced a factsheet with Capsticks LLP on how organisations can prepare for GDPR. Full guidance on requirements can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website. 

 Staff experience

Date Information and resources
January 2018

National Guardian Office (NGO) case reviews: The NGO has just carried out their first case review following staff raising concerns about culture and failure to deal with issues. Further reviews will be shared once available.

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES): Following the publication of the position across the NHS, our diversity and inclusion team will be working with employers to support further improvements in this area – primarily through the Equality and Diversity Council and as a member of the WRES Strategic Advisory Group. Read the WRES progress report from NHS England for more information.

NHS Improvement - "Use of Resources" assessments: NHS Improvement use of resources assessments in non-specialist acute trusts are now underway. These assessments include looking at workforce indicators and measures of HR functions and will be completed by the end of 2019. The assessments will take place alongside, but not on the same day, as CQC core service and well-led inspections. NHS Employers would welcome hearing HRDs experiences of the assessments.

February 2018 NHS Employers diversity and inclusion partners programme 2018/19: NHS organisations can apply for the 2018/19 annual diversity and inclusion partners programme. The programme supports participating trusts to progress and develop their equality performance over a period of 12 months, and is closely aligned to the Equality Delivery System. The application process opened on Monday 4 December 2017 and will closeon Friday 9 February 2018. You can visit our website to apply for the programme.
March 2018 and beyond

Raising concerns: NHS Employers runs a share and learn forum for HRDs and senior managers in the NHS. The forum offers attendees an update on national incentives supporting the Freedom to Speak Up agenda, and opportunity to discuss and work through local issues or challenges in an open and informal environment. HRDs are asked to take part and encourage managers who support the raising concerns agenda within their organisation to attend. More detail of how to book can be found in our events section.

Staff survey: This will be a key focus in the last part of the quarter. The results of the NHS Staff Survey will be published in early March 2018. NHS Employers will provide an overall analysis and share with employers. Results will be taken into account in planning for work programmes around staff engagement and health and well-being. 

Health and wellbeing: NHS Employers met with Caroline Corrigan, NHSI and Simon Bampfylde, NHS England to discuss potential collaborative working on key areas in health and wellbeing, including providing key resources. Details will be shared once available. NHS England are working towards developing a key set of resources which will support trusts to share the learning from the work they have been doing with the demonstrator sites over the last two years. NHS Employers is working closely to support this work and will provide further information when available. The Farmer Stevenson review, Thriving at Work a review of mental health and employers has been published. Paul Farmer will be speaking at the Q4 network meeting on 15 March. You may find our health and wellbeing evidence base and business case useful reading.

Other topics and events

Date  Information and resources
January 2018

Ambulance Service: During the first quarter of 2018 NHS Employers will be establishing a new website page focussing on the Ambulance workforce.  Details will be shared as soon as available.

Health Service Investigations Bill (HSIB): The HSIB is now up and running. Please share with your local area head of engagement your experiences.

HPMA Excellence Awards 2018 – partnership award: HRDs are encouraged to support partnership working applications. The Social Partnership Forum is sponsoring the partnership award, recognising great examples of partnership working between employers, trade unions and other stakeholders, in the provision of health and social care. Employer Recognition Scheme awards 2018 are now open for nomination.

February 2018

The Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017 comes into force on 1 April 2018. Under the regulations, relevant public sector employers will have to publish certain information relating to trade union officials and facility time on their website by July 2018 for the relevant period. 

Total Reward Engagement Network Event, Leeds, 2 February 2018

Improving your flu fighter campaign, Leeds, 27 February 2018

March 2018 and beyond

Super-charge your awards entry, 12 and 13 March 2018           

Raising concerns share and learn forum for HRDs and senior managers in the NHS, Horizon, Leeds, 14 March 2018

Flu fighter Conference and Awards, 24 April 2018

Confed18 - Celebrating shaping the future, 13 and14 June, Manchester Central


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