UK Government: Health Minister launches pioneering programme to improve
working lives of NHS staff
Story Filed: Wednesday, November 22, 2000 8:35 AM EST
NOV 22, 2000, M2 Communications - National phase of Positively Diverse
programme launched Health Minister John Denham today launched phase two of
Positively Diverse, an organisational development programme aimed at helping
NHS employers to improve the working lives of staff and increase equality of
opportunity. Mr Denham launched the programme at a national conference of
NHS senior managers and HR professionals held to discuss the findings of the
phase one pilot stage of Positively Diverse.
The Positively Diverse programme was first launched in 1998 and piloted in
37 NHS organisations. The programme helps managers to make the most of the
skills and experiences of the workforce and ensure that everyone has an
equal chance to develop to their full capacity.
The programme is based on listening to staff views and experiences, and
encouraging their participation in developing new ways of working. During
phase two of Positively Diverse, NHS organisations throughout the country
will be offered the opportunity for involvement in the programme.
Mr Denham said "We are determined to make the NHS a better place to work.
Staff in the NHS come from a wide range of backgrounds and with a huge
variety of experience. NHS managers need to know how to make the most of
this, and how to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to make
the most of their skills. We need to ensure that we are making the most of the
available workforce and that people are attracted to the NHS because it
offers staff a fair deal and a chance to reach their full potential.
"The NHS Plan, which we published in July, sets out the standards we want to
see in the NHS to improve the working lives of staff, and make best use of
their skills and experiences. The Staff Participation Taskforce which we set
up in 1998 established that the NHS works best where staff are involved and
their views taken seriously. The conclusions of the Taskforce have been
built into the new Improving Working Lives standard which is the benchmark for
good employment practice across the NHS. We have also now set out our standards
for flexible working lives, tackling violence against staff and tackling
racial harassment. The next challenge is to ensure that these standards are
met right across the NHS.
"Positively Diverse is an integral part of the NHS drive to ensure that all
staff are valued and involved. It helps managers to define what the
organisation needs to do to achieve this objective, shows them ways to move
forward, and puts them in touch with others who have already developed
better ways of working.
"We cannot implement the NHS Plan without the involvement and commitment of
all our staff. They, in turn, have a right to work for a first class
employer. Positively Diverse will play an important part in enabling them to
do so." Good practice examples in the Positively Diverse report, published
at the conference, include: Bradford Community Health NHS Trust which has
pioneered a health apprentice scheme, aimed at attracting young people from
the predominantly Asian local community into the NHS. The Community Health
Trusts has also worked with Bradford Hospitals Trust to run a job shop to
provide advice and support to people interested in a career in the NHS, and
increase access to jobs.
Kings Healthcare NHS Trust, which has set up a leadership development
programme for black and minority ethnic staff at junior and middle
professional level who might be expected to seek promotion. The programme
includes work shops on writing a CV and interview techniques, and offers a
North Mersey Community NHS Trust, which has focused on improving the working
environment for disabled people. The Trust is accredited with the 'Two
Ticks' symbol, showing its commitment to employing and supporting disabled people.
Notes to editors
1. The Human Resources Performance Framework, announced in the NHS Plan, was
published in early October. For the first time, the way NHS employers treat
their staff is part of core NHS performance measures and linked to the
resources Trusts receive. The Framework sets out targets on recruitment,
training, development and support of staff in order to ensure an expanded
workforce with the skills to deliver the improvements in patient care
announced in the NHS Plan. For example, by April 2001 all NHS employers must
meet the criteria to use the Employment Service 'two ticks' symbol
demonstrating a commitment to recruit and support people with disabilities.
2. The new Improving Working Lives Standard was published with the HR
Framework. This introduces a kite-marking system for NHS employers to
demonstrate how they are improving the working lives of all their staff. By
2003 all NHS employers must be able to demonstrate that they are delivering
flexible working arrangements, family-friendly working practices, healthy
safe work-places and other measures to support staff and improve retention.
3. In October, Mr Denham also announced plans to require all NHS
organisations to set some local targets for the recruitment of Asian, black
and other minority ethnic staff in areas of particularly poor
4. For copies of the Positively Diverse Report
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