Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Orange Route - Your HR policies and practices

Staff delivering NHS services can expect to work for an employer of choice. That is, an employer who provides a high quality working environment for their staff, an employer people choose to work for and stay with.

What do we mean by HR policies and practices? 

One way of ensuring a high quality workplace is by having good HR policies and practices. These may include policies and practices developed by your employer in partnership with local trade union representatives, which have an effect on your employment. Although developed locally, they are often based on national initiatives and guidance. Areas covered by such policies include equality and diversity, health, wellbeing and safety, work life balance and flexible working, discipline and grievance, raising concerns and whistleblowing and recruitment and promotion.

In the NHS there are a number of good employer initiatives that have been developed nationally in partnership with NHS Employers, the government and with trade unions. Such initiatives include Improving Working Lives in the NHS – a framework (2009), the health and safety essential guide and Part 5 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook – Equal Opportunities.

In 2014, the Whistleblowing Helpline published guidance to support employers implement effective whistleblowing policies. NHS Employers has also, working with their SPF partners, produced posters which can be used by employers to encourage staff to raise concerns when they are aware of a risk, wrong doing or malpractice in their organisation. See the SPF whistleblowing web page for more information.

The good practice guidance contained within these key national documents is accessible to both NHS and non NHS employers to help develop local policies and practices in partnership with staff and trade union representatives.

How will my transfer affect me?

If you leave direct NHS employment to join another organisation providing health care services to the NHS, you will not necessarily continue with exactly the same HR policies and practices you had with your former employer, unless they form part of your existing contractual terms and conditions of employment. You may wish to discuss with your HR or trade union representative in advance of your transfer to confirm which policies and practices will be transferring.

Your new employer may take some or all of your former employer’s policies and practices and amend these to reflect the structure and size of the new organisation. Alternatively they may decide to develop a new set of policies and practices or, they may already have a set of existing policies and practices. These decisions should be subject to discussion with the trade union representatives.

Contractual terms and conditions of employment are protected in a TUPE transfer except in very exceptional circumstances. They should also be protected in a transfer where TUPE does not apply, but the principles of TUPE are followed in accordance with the Cabinet Office Staff Transfers in the Public Sector Statement of Practice. If you are unsure what is included as part of your contract of employment you should speak to your HR department and/or trade union representative.

Regardless of who your new employer is following transfer, you can expect the HR policies and practices of your new employing organisation to not only meet the requirements of employment and discrimination law but also, to reflect a commitment to the provision of a high quality workplace and to being a good employer, as stated in the NHS Constitution and handbook. Your existing employer should work closely with you, your trade union representatives and your new employer to achieve this.

Resource Library

Visit our resource library web page for more advice on policies, practices and supporting documents that may apply to you when you transfer.