Promoting partnership working in the NHS

North SPF – Working in partnership during system change

The North SPF held their bi-annual meeting on the 20 January 2017 in Horizon Leeds. The meeting focused on working in partnership during system change with particular emphasis on the impact of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) workforce issues on staff in the North of England. The meeting was chaired by Charlie Carruth, Regional Officer for Unison and welcomed HR directors, Clinical Commissioners, trade unions and other key stakeholders. A total of 64 delegates attended.

Speakers for the day

  • Sue Holden, Improvement Director, NHS Improvement - Staff at the centre? Patient at the centre.  
  • Dr Paul Bowen, Chair, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG - Partnership working in system change, clinical commissioning viewpoint.  
  • Jon Restell, Chief Executive, MIP - Supporting the workforce during system change. 
  • Michael Wood, Local Growth Advisor, NHS Confederation - Understanding your local environment.  
  • Liane Langdon, Chief Officer, NHS North Lincolnshire CCG - Getting on with it. 
  • North East SPF joint chairs; Ursula Ross, BMA; Ann Burrell, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust; Sheila Wilson, UNISON - The North East approach to partnership as part of STP discussion. 
  • Ann Burrell, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust - Facilitated a session on developing an anthem for the North SPF. 

Sue Holden, Dr Paul Bowen, Jon Restell, Michael Wood and Liane Langdon were on the Q&A panel.

You can take a look at questions and answers from the session.

The objectives of the day 

  • Gain a better appreciation of the workforce issues and implications of STPs.
  • Get commissioners sighted on the impact of their decisions on the workforce.
  • Share and learn in partnership what is happening in the system on STPs.
  • Be sighted on resources to support partnership working through system change such as the staff transfer guide developed by the National SPF.
  • Discuss how engagement can take place and agree the position of the North SPF in this.


  • Commissioners to take back messages to their peers about getting better sighted on the workforce implications of STPs and agree actions to work in partnership on these.
  • North of England SPF to agree a position on how engagement can take place and tease out what the role of regional SPFs is, share learning and agree next steps.
  • Set up a social medial campaign on partnership working in the North.

For more information read the key communications from the event.

The following actions will be taken forward by the North SPF.

  1. Develop an easy-to-use guide for staff on changes arising from STPs, including new care models.
  2. Develop a podcast with Liane Langdon and Dr Paul Bowen on partnership working in CCGs during system change.
  3. Develop a case study with Dr Paul Bowen on staff engagement in the process to commission improving access to psychological therapies in Eastern Cheshire.
  4. Set up a working group to take forward the North SPF anthem.

Take a look at the evaluation from the event.

North SPF Conf Wordcloud Thumbnail

The word cloud above captures delegates informal reflections on the day.