Flexible NHS working by 2003

Using staff surveys to gauge NHS trusts’ HR performance is fair, the president of the AHHRM, Sally Storey, has claimed.

Assessors will judge the effectiveness of each trust’s HR strategy by monitoring feedback from employees under the new performance framework.

Trusts will be awarded a new kitemark, Improving Working Lives standards, according to evidence including staff attitude surveys. These will ask employees questions about quality of their working lives, flexible working, training, ethnicity and working patterns.

The Government suggests staff should be asked questions such as, “I feel I have equal access to training and development opportunities” and “I am encouraged to develop new skills”.

Storey says, “This is fair – other methods to assess HR performance could be turnover rates and exit interviews.”

web link www.ahhrm.org.uk


The Government has set a deadline of April 2003 for the implementation of flexible working policies in the NHS.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn wants all NHS employers to demonstrate flexible working arrangements, family-friendly work practices, healthy and safe workplaces and other staff retention methods.

The Government, with Investors In People, drew up a three-stage kite-marking system. Trusts start at “Pledge” level, showing commitment to flexible working practices, and work through to “Practice” and “Practice Plus”. Each will each receive £25,000 from a special £9m budget.

AHHRM president Sally Storey said, “Many trusts will already be up to the standards set out. At Bournewood trust I am part-time HR director, and many members of our senior executive team already work part time.”

NHS trusts will receive Improving Working Lives kite marks for a portfolio showing all staff have better working lives. Assessors will measure each trust’s HR strategy against the NHS Plan, national priorities and performance framework targets.

Hugh Taylor, NHS executive HR director, said, “This sets high expectations of NHS employers. The extra investment will support employers to improve working lives. The standard means this will no longer be left to chance.”

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