Advisory Group remit for the Safe Staffing Bill: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02828
Date received: 15 November 2017
Date responded: 22 November 2017

Information requested

You asked for "would like to know if information is available on the membership and remit of the Advisory Group for the Safe Staffing Bill".


I enclose the information you requested.



1. The Bill Reference Group will support the Scottish Government's Strategic Programme Board for safe staffing legislation in drafting and finalising the legislation to meet the Scottish Government's Programme for Government commitment to enshrine safe staffing in law. The Group will provide advice and detailed evidence as the legislation is developed and finalised during its Parliamentary passage. This is initially a short life "task and complete" reference group and it is expected that the group will be dissolved following committee scrutiny of the Bill.


2. The Scottish Government's Programme for Scotland 2017-18 made a commitment to introduce a safe staffing bill. The Bill will "deliver on the commitment to enshrine in law the principles of safe staffing in the NHS, starting with the nursing and midwifery workforce planning tools. The Bill will ensure nationally agreed, evidence-based workload and workforce planning tools are applied, and ensure key principles relating to professional judgement, local context and quality measures underpin workload and workforce planning".

3. Nursing and Midwifery Workload and Workforce Planning Tools have been developed and mandated for use in NHS Boards since April 2013. A suite of 12 tools is now available covering 98% of service areas helping to plan for the number of nurses and midwives they require to provide the best possible care for patients. One multi-disciplinary tools has also been developed for use in Emergency Department/Emergency Medicine Settings.

4. The legislation aims to:

  • Ensure safe staffing levels that reflect patient and service needs.
  • Enshrine key principles – professional judgement, local context, quality measures.
  • Enable consideration of service delivery models.
  • Enable public and staff assurance (and reassurance).

5. A formal public consultation took place between April and July 2017. Work is underway to finalise the details of the legislation, taking account of views expressed during the consultation process and subsequent discussion with the Strategic Programme Board and key stakeholders. The Bill is due to be introduced to Parliament in 2018. The draft Bill will be considered by the Health and Sport Committee before being debated by Parliament.


6. In preparation for the introduction of the Bill, the Bill Reference Group will support and advise the Strategic Programme Board on the drafting of the legislation to ensure that the underpinning policy is robust, proportionate, and applied in a meaningful way in the correct settings, and that the overarching principles underpinning the policy are consistent with the current operation of the integrated health and social care landscape.

7. The Bill Reference Group will also help identify and work through any issues relating to potential impacts of the proposed legislation, and this consideration will inform the development of the legislation, including how it will be applied and monitored.

8. Following the Bill's introduction to Parliament the Bill Reference Group will offer on-going advice during the introduction of the Bill to Parliament and committee scrutiny, including working through any outstanding policy issues or issues of detail.


9. Members will be expected to:

  • Contribute to the development of the legislation to ensure the legislation delivers the intended policy.
  • Contribute to the development of the accompanying documents for the legislation, such as the Financial Memorandum and Impact Assessments, providing advice and specialised/detailed information as required.
  • Engage with constituent stakeholders and organisations to gather a representative view on the development of policy and legislation.
  • Contribute and provide advice as necessary during the Parliamentary passage of the legislation.
  • Contribute to the development of guidance to support implementation of the legislation.


10. The Bill Reference Group will report into the Strategic Programme Board and the Scottish Government about the development of the legislation and accompanying documents, and evidence and guidance to support the legislation.

11. The Bill Reference Group will focus on ensuring the proposed legislation will deliver the intended outcomes. Strategic overview of the policy associated with the Bill and how that relates to existing Scottish Government policy will remain in the remit of the Strategic Programme Board.


12. The meetings will be chaired by the Associate Chief Nursing Officer.


13. The membership of the Bill Reference Group will be key to ensure appropriate representation from partners and key stakeholders. To enable the group to be workable and effectively contribute to the Bill's development, it is important to have key input from interested parties. However, it may not be possible to have all interested parties represented. Therefore, members will be expected to engage with constituent stakeholders and the Bill team will ensure on-going engagement with key stakeholders and groups will provide for sufficient opportunities to ensure that the development and implementation of legislation is a collaborative process.

14. In the first instance membership will be invited from the following, with representation from other relevant stakeholders to be discussed during the first Bill Reference Group meeting:

  • Scottish Executive Nurse Directors
  • NHS Directors of Finance
  • RCN (as a professional body)
  • RCM (as professional body)
  • Union representative (Scottish Partnership Forum to nominate two individuals to represent the staff voice)
  • Chief Operating Officers Group for Health and Social Care Scotland
  • Scottish Care
  • Care Inspectorate
  • HIS
  • SSSC
  • NHS Board HR Directors
  • Social Work Scotland
  • Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland
  • Scottish Government Chief Nursing Officer's Directorate

In addition, Scottish Government officials will also be invited from relevant areas including, for example:

  • Health Performance and Delivery
  • Health Workforce and Strategic Change
  • Social Work & Social Care Policy
  • Health and Social Care Integration

Meeting Schedule

15. We intend to hold an initial full day meeting in November 2017 followed by half a day meeting in December to inform the final drafting of the Bill provisions before the Bill is introduced to Parliament. The outcome of these meetings will be reported back to the Strategic Programme Board. The timings of further meetings will reflect whether there are any outstanding issues to be resolved and the finalised timings of the Bill's introduction to Parliament. Any further meetings would be held early in 2018.

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