Enabling staff movement

The Enabling Staff Movements (ESM) programme is focused on delivering solutions to ease the movement of staff across the NHS as well as improve their experience as they move from one NHS organisation to another. This webpage contains the most up-to-date information on the programme of work, the benefits that the programme will bring to the NHS, what we have been working on as well as offering links to the appropriate guides and information that an NHS organisation will need when enabling staff to move.

Enabling staff movements

The NHS commitment outlined in the NHS People Plan states the ambition to ‘enable staff to more easily move from one NHS employer to another’, to provide an agile and highly skilled NHS workforce through providing opportunities for the expansion of skills and career development, and to offer flexibility to help transform the delivery of services.

The NHS’s clear ambition is to simplify and modernise staff movement to meet the current and future needs of its workforce and service, and is supported by the vision of the Enabling Staff Movement programme:

‘Our people feel empowered and able to move easily across the NHS to enhance the delivery of care to patients’

The Enabling Staff Movements programme is focused on delivering solutions to ease the movement of staff across the NHS, and to improve their experience as they move, to enable staff to be simply and quickly released to deliver care at the earliest opportunity.

With national partners, we are working collectively to break down unnecessary bureaucracy, promote standardisation of policies, processes, and systems, and reduce administrative burden on NHS staff and corporate services teams (HR, Recruitment, Training and Occupational Health). This will improve the onboarding and induction experience overall, enabling staff to be released quicker to care for patients. This will also improve the quality of workforce data in the NHS and promote recognition of previous training and occupational health Immunisations and vaccinations and will improve the overall efficiency and experience when staff move.

This is achieved by:

  • establishing standards and agreements between organisations so that organisations are able to accept the checks completed and the training delivered by others.
  • securely passporting verified records of previous employment and training between organisations, in accordance with data privacy and GDPR rules, so that the receiving organisation can rely on that information and not need to repeat certain checks and training.

Ultimately, the Enabling Staff Movement programme aims to promote the use of lead employer models, establish standards, make digital staff passports available to all staff and ensure that all workforce systems across the health and care system are interoperable, utilising nationally defined data standards. This will enable our people to work more flexibly and move more easily and safely between our organisations.

Outlined below are some of the key projects delivered by the Enabling Staff Movements programme:

Enabling staff movement toolkit

This toolkit sets out a framework for all the various staff movements that occur across the health and care sector. It provides guidance and case studies on temporary staff movements, with signposts to comprehensive NHS Employers guidance on setting up workforce sharing agreements.

The toolkit was first launched in August 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic then saw rapid adoption of workforce sharing agreements (often referred to as workforce MOUs), to address the increased health and care pressures that resulted.

We reviewed several examples of local agreements and have now updated the toolkit to include some national templates, additional case studies and a template for when NHS workers need to be deployed into care providers for short periods, for example during emergencies.

The ESM toolkit contains links to the following annexes:

NHS digital staff passport

The NHS digital staff passport is critical to achieving the NHS People Plan’s ambition and is further supported in action 34 of The future of NHS human resources and organisational development report calling for organisations and integrated care system (ICS) CPO’s to ‘implement digital staff passports, to enable seamless moves between teams and organisations’, and in success measure four in the ‘What good looks like’ (WGLL) programme, which outlines how organisations are to ‘Promote the use of systems and tools to enable frictionless movement of staff across the ICS – allowing staff from different organisations to work flexibly and remotely where appropriate’.

Interim COVID-19 NHS Digital Staff Passport

In May 2020 the COVID-19 Digital Staff Passport was launched, which aided the simple movement of staff on a temporary basis to support the COVID-19 response. At its peak during the pandemic it was implemented in 105 NHS organisations with over 1000 passports issued to staff, enabling the safe and rapid movement of staff on a temporary basis between NHS organisations. This interim solution enabled the secure transfer of key staff’s details and employment information, to avoid repeat employment checks were they to be temporarily deployed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery of services. Further information is on the COVID-19 digital staff passport website.

This interim passport has provided the cornerstone to establishing passporting across the NHS and has enabled the programme to progress towards the next iteration of NHS Digital Staff Passport which is currently under development.

New NHS Digital Staff Passport

Building upon the success of the interim Covid-19 digital staff passport the Enabling Staff Movement team, alongside its delivery partners, has now started work on building the next iteration of the product which is targeted for (private beta) pilot in Winter 2022/Spring 2023.

The pilot will focus on designing a product and service to meet two use cases; the rotations of postgraduate doctors and temporary staff movements i.e. for those who hold a substantive contract and are looking to support or pursue opportunities at another NHS organisation(s) whilst retaining their substantive post e.g. honorary contracts, secondments, clinical network arrangements (please note this excludes temporary workers such as bank staff, these will be introduced at a later stage of the roadmap).

The NHS Digital Staff Passport currently in development is an online portal and digital wallet that holds staff members’ essential information – including personal, employment, skills and occupational health. So, when staff want to move between NHS organisations, they can quickly and securely transfer the information that’s required, without duplicate form filling, checks and training making the whole onboarding experience easier, faster, and less repetitive.

This is the next stage of our journey towards our long-term ambition to deliver an NHS Digital Staff Passport for every NHS staff member to support and facilitate a wider range of staff movements.

For more information please visit the NHS Digital staff passport website.

Connecting third party systems to Electronic Staff Record (ESR)

There is a high volume of NHS staff workforce data stored in siloed third-party systems; making this data difficult to share, inaccessible to other NHS organisations and leads to the unnecessary repetition of tasks by multiple parties when staff move. This project aims to ensure ESR holds the complete set of required information in the employee record of all NHS staff. It does this by connecting siloed third-party systems used by NHS Trusts to manage their Occupational Health and Learning workflows to ESR.

Connecting these third party learning management systems (LMS) and occupational health (OH) systems to ESR via an interface ensures that vital employee data is made available in ESR, ready to be transferred across to other NHS organisations via the NHS Digital Staff Passport and ESR’s inter-authority transfer (IAT) process.

Stopping the confinement of key employee data to isolated third-party systems will reduce inefficient duplication of checks, repetition of training and improved staff experience. These benefits can only be fully realised when all staff employed by NHS Trust have their data on ESR.

An increasing number of NHS trusts across the country are being sponsored to connect their LMS and OH systems to ESR. Register your expression of interest.

For further information on the projects delivered by the Enabling Staff Movement programme, please email england.enablingstaffmovements@nhs.net