NHS 'Once for Scotland' workforce policies: consultation on core policies

This consultation focuses on the policies for grievance, conduct, capability, bullying and harassment, attendance and the investigatory process for workforce policies.



The 'Once for Scotland' Workforce Policies Programme is designed to review and transform existing workforce policies (previously known as Partnership Information Network (PIN) Policies) in line with our vision:-

'Once for Scotland Workforce policies will promote NHSScotland as a modern, exemplar employer; showcasing our core values, and promoting consistent employment policy and practice that supports the implementation of the Staff Governance Standard and effective recruitment and retention.'


The Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance (SWAG) Committee agreed that the following principles would govern the development work and future model:-

1. The overriding purpose of future policy review exercises will be to create single, standardised policies that will be used consistently and seamlessly across NHSScotland.

2. Policies will be presented in a refreshed and reinvigorated format on a digital platform in a more user friendly and meaningful way, with staff and managers at the centre, whilst still being accessible to all groups of staff in alternative formats.

3. Policies will be developed and reviewed more quickly and efficiently, with accountability for delivery shared between employers, staffside and professional organisations and the Scottish Government.

4. There will be collective responsibility for each PIN Policy in terms of providing governance and leadership around future policy development or review.

5. Existing national PIN policies set good practice standards that have been negotiated and agreed in partnership and the starting presumption should be that these standards will apply at the core of future Once for Scotland policies.

6. Where a national PIN policy has been recently reviewed and is legally compliant, the expectation is that there should be minimal changes in relation to policy standards and therefore the focus is adopting that version to the Once for Scotland policy style.

7. Policies should be developed with robust engagement and take account of good practice locally and within other employers.

8. A new model for PIN policy review will be developed that improves the timeframe and efficiency of PIN policy review.

9. Once policies are agreed, they will be implemented consistently and fully across NHSScotland.

10. In future policies will be more focused on key standards and information and implemented across NHSScotland. The implementation will be supported by processes and procedures that will be nationally or locally agreed as appropriate.


The first phase of the programme addresses the 'Core Policies' i.e.

  • Bullying & Harassment
  • Capability
  • Conduct
  • Grievance
  • Attendance, AND a
  • Workforce Policy Investigation Process

Engagement Model

The emphasis is on moving to more dynamic and interactive engagement within a quicker process and with more direct feedback.

The one month consultation period will run from 17 April to 17 May 2019 inclusive with necessary flexibility to ensure maximum feedback.

The consultation follows the regional engagement events pre-policy (January 2019) and mid-policy development (March 2019). The approach, agreed by the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance (SWAG) Committee, minimises the need for the traditional 2-3 month formal consultation process.

With this new model of engagement, and recognising that these policies have already been agreed in partnership, this consultation will look different from previous consultations.

What is included within the consultation?

The consultation focuses on the policies for Grievance, Conduct, Capability, Bullying & Harassment, Attendance and the Investigatory Process for Workforce Policies. This includes the following sections:-

  • Aims
  • Scope (Who it applies to and What can be raised under the policy)
  • Definitions
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Procedure

The questions set out in the consultation seek to understand if the refreshed policies reflect the vision and principles of 'Once for Scotland' Workforce Policies. Fundamentally, do the policies contained within the consultation provide single and standardised policies that are user-friendly and place staff and managers at the centre.

What is not included within the consultation?

The consultation does not include the standard headings that apply to all policies and can be written once and accessible through the digital solution. For example, Ministerial Forward, Preface, Principles and Values, Legislative Framework, Recording and Retaining Records (GDPR), Equality & Diversity (Wellbeing & Equality Policies will be addressed in Phase 2), Confidentiality, Right to be Represented, Training, Staff Governance Standards (direct link), Monitoring & Evaluation, Support and Review.

Each policy includes reference to links that will be made available through the digital solution to supporting materials. At this stage, this is simply referenced as a link.

Note that generic roles and responsibilities have been removed from the individual policies and will be included under the standard headings which apply to all policies.

For information, these are detailed below:-

Group Roles & Responsibilities
  • Support managers and employees by providing advice on policy and process
  • Ensure any processes undertaken comply with the policy and procedure and that there is fairness and consistency
Trade Union
  • Support their members, ensuring they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under this policy
  • Encourage members to participate in early resolution in appropriate cases
  • Work in partnership with the organisation to raise awareness on the benefits of and approach to the policy, including development and delivery of joint training
Occupational Health
  • Provide expert, impartial and timely advice to managers and support to employees following any referral which requires to be made in the course of managing issues identified within Workforce Policies.

Digital Solution

A key component of the 'Once for Scotland' Workforce Policies is to design and develop the digital solution to host the policies that will deliver the vision to promote NHSScotland as a modern employer, showcase our core values and facilitate recruitment and retention.

The digital solution will be developed in an iterative-incremental manner in collaboration with users. It will evolve over time in response to continuous feedback. It is anticipated that a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) will be in place for the completion of the first phase of core policies in the summer of 2019.


Email: Lynn.Hunter@gov.scot

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