Department of Health and Social Care
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Social Partnership Forum launches new website

Social Partnership Forum launches new website

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 14 April 2009

A new website to support partnerships between NHS staff and trade unions was announced by Health Minister, Ann Keen today.

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) is a partnership between the Department of Health, NHS Employers and NHS Trade Unions to improve working relationships and involve partners in the workforce implications of NHS policy development. The new SPF website includes:

* Advice and materials to support and encourage partnership working between employers and Trade unions at all levels in the NHS
* Case studies, examples of good practice and a selection of toolkits to support regional and local partnership working
* Details and application materials for the new NHS Partnership Fund. NHS organisations can bid for money from this £500,000 fund to support partnership projects that support NHS Constitution pledges, meet local organisational goals, effectively communicate and engage with NHS staff and improve the quality of patient care.

The website was a key recommendation in a progress report by the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), which is also published today, on the role and function of the National SPF. The IPA report 'NHS Social Partnership Forum Review - Final Report' highlights the good progress the SPF has made to date, praises the strong Ministerial support and effective working practices and makes recommendations as to how these can be built upon in partnership.

Health Minister, Ann Keen said:

"Employers and unions working constructively together on a project can make a real difference.

"The Social Partnership Forum has successfully looked into ways in which it can increase staff involvement in improving patient services, therefore delivering on commitments made in the NHS Constitution. This website and funding will help NHS staff feel more supported and engaged in their organisations.

"The NHS workforce delivers some of the best healthcare in the world, day in, day out but our aspiration is to build on their achievements to date and to continue to go from strength to strength to deliver the highest quality care to patients."

Karen Jennings, Chair of the SPF Staff Side, said on behalf of the NHS Trade Unions:

"Instilling a culture of partnership working into the bedrock of the NHS will pay dividends for patients and staff. It makes sense to listen to staff and their trade unions and to share the experience and innovations generated by them across the whole of the NHS. I have no doubt that the result will lead to better patient care."

Gill Bellord, NHS Employers' Director of Pay Pensions and Employment Relations said:

"The new Social Partnership forum web site is a great opportunity to demonstrate partnership working in action in the NHS. There are tough challenges ahead for health care organisations that can only be met by everyone working together to solve them.

We hope that the good practice ideas will provide help and encouragement to others. Our aim is that the website will be useful to and used by all the social partners. "

Notes to Editors:

1. Applications forms are available at:

2. Ann Keen is chair of the national Social partnership Forum. The SPF has developed highly effective working relationships on the workforce implications of policy since its re-launch in February 2007.

3. *IPA Report - The Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) undertook a review into the operation of the Social Partnership Forum to ensure that the Partnership Agreement between partners remains fit for purpose. The full report is published today and is available from

Partnership Fund - The IPA Report emphasised the need to encourage and develop partnership working at local employer level within the NHS. In response to this, Ann Keen announced the Partnership Fund of £500,000 at the NHS Employers Conference in October 2008. The money is to be made available in the financial year 2009/10. The Partnership Fund supports the NHS Constitution Pledge on engagement and partnership working (p96 of the handbook to the NHS Constitution).

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