NHS Improvement and Health Education England to work more closely together

We have announced plans to work more closely with Health Education England to ensure the national workforce system is well aligned.

The government’s announcement of the five-year funding settlement and the development of the long-term plan has demonstrated the importance of national, regional and local organisations working together effectively to support the NHS.

As part of this, we are moving towards integrating our national and regional functions with NHS England and we are shifting our focus from regulation to improvement. This includes creating a chief people officer role and a people directorate, which will be responsible for providing a cohesive approach to recruiting, retaining, deploying and developing the current NHS workforce.

Today’s announcement confirms that:

  • Health Education England (HEE) will work jointly with NHS Improvement to develop HEE’s mandate for 2019/20 onwards. HEE’s board will continue to sign-off the draft mandate, but as a new step the mandate will then need to be approved by NHS Improvement’s board to ensure it meets service requirements, before approval by the Secretary of State. This will ensure that workforce plans are more closely aligned with NHS service plans.
  • Subject to any necessary consultations, the NHS Leadership Academy will transfer from HEE to the new NHS Improvement and NHS England people function from 1 April 2019, maximising the natural fit between the work of the NHS Leadership Academy and the people function’s responsibility for executive and non-executive leadership and talent across the NHS.
  • Opportunities will be identified for HEE’s regional teams to align with the seven integrated regional teams of NHS Improvement and NHS England, in order to continue to build on the strong collaborative working that already exists across the country in support of local health systems.

The arrangement will build on the close working arrangement that we have already with HEE, including jointly overseeing the workforce elements for the NHS’s long-term plan.

A strong workforce is critical to the future of the NHS. By integrating the work of Health Education England with NHS Improvement, we will develop a more coherent approach to workforce development across the NHS.

I look forward to building a closer working relationship with Health Education England and welcoming colleagues from the NHS Leadership Academy from next April.

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement