NHS Highland workforce policies: FOI release

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

Information requested

1. Who appoints the staff running NHS Highland (from the chief executives down to the heads of finance, payroll managers, HR managers, FoI administrators, security managers, directors of finance, board secretaries, legal office managers, etc.), and to whom they have to report?

2. Who monitors the staff running NHS Highland, and who is accountable when its administration is not compliant with the legislation?

3. Who instructs NHS Highland to not pay the National Minimum Wage to some people?

4. What happened to the thousands of pounds of National Minimum Wages that went unpaid in the past years and that NHS Highland always refused to pay and always denied failing to pay to some people?

5. Who instructs NHS Highland to divert the money made from its social housing premises to run your Raigmore hospital and other NHS Highland facilities?

6. What internal policies and procedures does the Scottish Government have regarding harassment, racial profiling, assault in the workplace by members of staff and approaching staff when they are off-Scottish Ministers,duty?

7. What systems do you have in place to ensure independent investigations of lodged formal complaints, and what policies do you have regarding the retention/destruction of the evidence needed for the investigations?


1. NHS Highland, like all Health Boards, is a Public Body. A Public Body is an organisation for which either the Scottish Government or Scottish Parliament is responsible and with whom they have a direct relationship. As such, it is the responsibility of NHS Highland, as the employer, to carry out recruitment for all staff, including Executive members. All staff will report through their various chains of command to the Chief Executive of the Board.

The appointment of individuals to the Board, as a full member of the Board of governance is a matter for Scottish Ministers (this includes Chair, Chief Executive, Director of Finance, Medical Director, Nurse Director, Director of Public Health and Non-Executive members). The Board is held to account through the Board Chair to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care. The Chief Executive also receives delegated Accountable Officer Status from the Permanent Secretary before they can take up their role.

2. The Chief Executive monitors staff running NHS Highland. If the Board is found to be non-compliant with legislation, the Board is held to account through the Board Chair to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and to Scottish Parliament.

3. & 4. NHS Scotland is a Living Wage employer and, as such, the lowest available salary of £19,487 translates into an hourly rate of £9.96 per hour, which is above the Scottish Living Wage rate of £9.50 per hour.

The pay and conditions for NHS Staff are covered by The Agenda for Change Agreement outlined in NHS Circular: PCS(AFC)2021/2.

5. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for as the Scottish Government is not responsible for income and maintenance of social housing in the Highlands, this is the responsibility of The Highland Council. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

Should you wish information on income and maintenance of social housing, you would need to contact The Highland Council at: Freedom of Information | Freedom of information | The Highland Council.

6. The Scottish Government works in partnership with Health Boards and staff to decide on the best way to support staff from all protected characteristics. This includes policies and procedures that:

  • Fostering an inclusive culture in the NHS to improve everyone’s experience within NHS Scotland.
  • Demonstrating there is no place for discrimination of any kind in the Health and Social care workforce and Scottish society as a whole.
  • Supporting individuals – both patients and staff - from all backgrounds is paramount in ensuring the delivery of the best care for the people of Scotland.
  • Working to ensure that senior leaders across Health Boards have meaningful objectives to support equality for people for our diverse workforce.
  • Visible support for equality from Senior Leadership that will empower staff to make their voices heard.
  • Through Programme for Government, committing to working with Health Boards to improve their workforce ethnicity data.
  • Committed to ensuring that staff at all levels have the training they need to address any issues around equality, diversity and inclusion within the course of their work.

Each NHS Scotland Board must operate within the Governance Framework that includes Staff Governance (how staff are managed and how they feel they are being managed).

The Staff Governance Standard Framework is the key policy document to support the NHS Reform (Scotland) Act 2004 which aims to improve how NHS Scotland's diverse workforce is treated at work. This Framework that sets out responsibilities for managers and staff requires Boards to demonstrate that they are: well informed; appropriately trained and developed; involved in decisions; treated fairly and consistently, with dignity and respect, in an environment where diversity is valued; and provided with a continuously improving and safe working environment, promoting the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and the wider community.

Within this there is a set of responsibilities for managers and staff. The manager responsibilities include the following:

  • All staff are and feel valued as individuals, have trust placed in their ability and capability and are appreciated for their effort and contribution.
  • The work environment and culture encourages individuals to treat each other with respect.

Staff responsibilities include:

  • They operate in accordance with their organisation's values and behaviours and lead by example, ensuring that they treat staff at all levels, patients, carers and the public fairly, professionally, and with dignity and respect.

The Scottish Government provides the policies and the frameworks to NHS Scotland Boards and it is for Health Boards as employers to apply these fairly and consistently. We expect all employees to act in line with the values and behaviours outlined in the national workforce policies that are developed nationally in partnership with NHS Scotland employers, trade unions and the Scottish Government.

The NHSScotland Workforce Policies that are single, standardised policies are used consistently and seamlessly across the NHS in Scotland cover a range of employment matters including conduct; bullying and harassment; and grievances.

7. Regarding formal complaints, measures have been introduced to support staff to speak up. These include a national Whistleblowing Policy (set against the National Whistleblowing Standards and Independent National Whistleblowing Officer role delivered by the Scottish Public Sector Ombudsmen); an independent advice line; and dedicated Whistleblowing Champions in each health board to seek assurance that staff are encouraged and supported to speak up.

In addition, individuals can raise concerns about their employment through the process in the NHSScotland Grievance Policy or in the case of bullying or harassment, through the NHSScotland Bullying and Harassment Policy. As advised in these policies the NHSScotland Workforce Policies Investigation Process is used.

Retention and destruction of documents are governed by Data Protection Act 2018.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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