Health and social care staff experience: report 2018

The Scottish Government has commissioned Webropol Ltd, an independent company to undertake the work to report staff experience in Health and Social Care in 2018. Their report provides detailed information and analysis of staff experience gleaned from our iMatter Continuous Improvement Model.


Employers in Health and Social Care are committed to improving patient and public services through enhancing staff experience.

Our 2020 Vision for Health and Social Care makes a commitment to valuing and empowering everyone who works in NHSScotland and supporting them to work to the best of their ability. We recognise that improved staff experience is critical for delivery of the Scottish Government's Health and Social Care Delivery Plan, to provide better care, better health and better value.

It is therefore essential that staff at all levels in NHSScotland, including those working within Health & Social Care Partnerships (H & SCPs) are empowered and enabled to have their voices heard, that they are valued within their immediate team and wider organisation, and that their views, opinions and actions contribute to continuous improvement.

The work to measure and report staff experience in Health and Social Care in 2018 was commissioned by the Scottish Government and carried out by Webropol Ltd, an independent company.

The iMatter Continuous Improvement Model

The iMatter Continuous Improvement Model was developed by NHSScotland staff and aims to engage staff in a way that feels right for people at every level. As a team-based tool, iMatter offers individual teams, managers and organisations the facility to measure, understand, improve and evidence staff experience. The iMatter team stories included in this report illustrate the continued dedication of staff to improving not only their staff experience but in turn improving the care and services they deliver.

Arrangements for the delivery of the iMatter model were developed in full partnership and have been endorsed by the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance Committee (SWAG) and approved by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. iMatter was initially rolled out over a three year period from 2015 to 2017 to all staff across NHSScotland and 24 Health & Social H & SCPs that chose to participate. The 2018 programme has repeated that process.

The implementation of iMatter has enabled us to obtain a comprehensive picture of staff experience. Indicating areas of success and those which require improvement both nationally and locally, helps inform progress in delivering the commitments of our Staff Governance Standard. Our commitment to promoting effective staff governance was reinforced with the NHS Scotland (Reform) Act 2004 and the Staff Governance Standard underpins that commitment.

iMatter Process

The iMatter questionnaire enables staff the opportunity to feed back their experience within their team and at organisational level on a real-time basis. iMatter results are directly reported at team, directorate and organisation levels and once team results are delivered two weeks after questionnaires closing, teams are invited to collectively share responsibility for developing an action plan within a 12 week period and to review actions and progress made throughout the year. As an integral part of the iMatter process teams come together to review the results and share thoughts and ideas in order to develop and implement Action Plans. This process is illustrated through the sharing of Team Stories. This report includes a summary of the main themes emerging and includes hyperlinks to all of the Team Stories submitted

iMatter Report 2018

The first national Health & Social Care Staff Experience report on iMatter also included a report on the 2017 Dignity at Work Survey, it was published on 2 March 2018. The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has endorsed the recommendation from the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance Committee (SWAG) that for 2018, staff experience would be measured using iMatter only. In doing so a full independent evaluation of the staff experience approach is also being undertaken to inform the future approach. This work is now underway and the report is expected to inform actions to ensure that we have a modern and meaningful approach for effective staff engagement. At the core of this is a commitment to continuous improvement ensuring that we maximise improvements in staff experience and the cost-effectiveness of measuring employee engagement.

This report provides detailed information and analysis of the iMatter responses for 2018. It also contains comparisons to previous years where appropriate.

The findings from this report will be used by a range of stakeholders, including:

  • Individual organisations (Health Boards and local authorities)
  • The Scottish Government
  • Partnership Groups such as the Scottish Partnership Forum (SPF) and the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance Committee (SWAG)

Data Collection

The iMatter questionnaire used Webropol to distribute electronic and paper questionnaires to NHSScotland employees, as well as those employed by the local authority who work in a Health & Social Care Partnership (H & SCPs) who chose to participate. In 2018, 22 Health Boards and 24 H & SCPs took part.

For 2018 all fieldwork was carried out between 5 February and 17 September. Paper responses were accepted through until 24 September to allow for post processing. The 2018 programme used the same questionnaire and method as 2017 and therefore this report contains comparative data for the first time.

The process for distributing the iMatter questionnaire begins with a team confirmation period. Managers (at individual team level) were required to confirm their teams to ensure accuracy and that respondent information is updated. This was conducted for a period of 4 weeks where managers are required to remove any staff who have left the team, exclude staff who will not be available during the questionnaire stage and add any new staff that have joined the team. Once this process was completed, the electronic questionnaire was issued to all respondents with an email entered on the system and remained open for a period of 3 weeks. The paper version was also available to be printed and distributed on the same day, with the deadline to receive paper copies set for 1 week after the questionnaire closing date. All paper responses received within the deadline were also input within 1 week of the receipt deadline. Reminders were issued each week over the 3 week period.

Week Number



Managers confirm team details to ensure accurate respondent information:

  • remove staff who have left
  • exclude staff who will not be available during fieldwork

Add new staff





Fieldwork window:

  • email electronic questionnaire/print & distribute paper version

Reminders issued each week to non-responders




Additional week for Webropol to receive paper responses


All response data input to system

The iMatter questionnaire and data collection process was undertaken by Webropol, an independent company, to ensure full anonymity for the respondents. All processes have been fully assessed to ensure compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Principles. In order to keep the reports within small teams of 4 or less anonymous, the response rate for team reports to be published must be 100%. The reports are published at team level and available to that team only. The response data contained in team reports informs reports at both Directorate and Organisational level.



Workforce Practice Admin
Liz Reilly
Catriona Hetherington 


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