Publication - Advice and guidance

NHSScotland Staff Governance Standard (4th Edition)

Published: 21 Jun 2012
Part of:
Health and social care

The Staff Governance Standard is a framework for NHSScotland organisations and employees.

22 page PDF

319.0 kB

22 page PDF

319.0 kB

NHSScotland Staff Governance Standard (4th Edition)
5 Roles and Responsibilities

22 page PDF

319.0 kB

5 Roles and Responsibilities

At national and local levels there must be equal commitment to partnership working from both staff side representatives and managers at all levels.

5.1 Scottish Partnership Forum

The specific responsibilities of the Scottish Partnership Forum (SPF) in relation to the Staff Governance Standard are to:

  • take an overview of national performance against the Staff Governance Standard by participating in national monitoring; and
  • provide recommendations on the future development of the Staff Governance Standard.

5.2 SWAG (Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance)

The main function of the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance Committee (SWAG) is the development and implementation of employment policy and practice for NHSScotland. Specifically it is responsible for:

  • ensuring that NHSScotland acts as an exemplar employer by developing and endorsing best employment policy and practice and monitoring its implementation;
  • ensuring that NHSScotland-wide agreements on workforce issues are used across all NHSScotland employers whenever consistency is appropriate;
  • developing frameworks and advice to inform the workforce strategy;
  • acting as guardians of the Staff Governance Standard and maintaining close links with local Staff Governance Committees and Area Partnership Forums; and
  • promoting equality and the elimination of discriminatory practices in employment and enabling compliance with equalities legislation.

5.3 NHS Board

NHS Boards have a statutory duty to Scottish Ministers put in place through the NHS Reform (Scotland) Act 2004, which states:

"12I A Duty in relation to the governance of staff

It shall be the duty of each Health Board and Special Health Board and of the Agency to put and keep in place arrangements for the purposes of:

(a) improving the management of the officers employed by it;
(b) monitoring such management; and
(c) workforce planning."

Accountability for local performance against this Standard therefore lies ultimately with the NHS Board. NHS Boards must receive reassurance around the detail of staff governance arrangements and monitoring processes, and be assured that the Staff Governance Committee's aims and objectives are being met. Each NHS Board must ensure that external audit of staff governance has parity with financial, clinical and information audit.

5.4 Staff Governance Committee

The Staff Governance Committee (SGC) is a standing committee of each NHS Board which, together with the Clinical Governance Committee and Audit Committee, forms the full governance framework for NHS Boards. As a minimum, full membership of local SGC should include the following:

  • four non-executive Directors of the NHS Board, of which one must be the Employee Director;
  • two lay representatives, or more depending on the needs of the local area, from the trade unions and professional organisations (acting in an ex officio capacity), nominated by the NHS Board Partnership Forum.

The role of this committee is to support and maintain a culture within the health system where the delivery of the highest possible standard of staff management is understood to be the responsibility of everyone working within the system and is built upon partnership and collaboration. It will ensure that robust arrangements to implement the Staff Governance Standard are in place and monitored.

The specific responsibilities of the SGC are to:

  • oversee the commissioning of structures and processes which ensure that delivery against the Standard is being achieved;
  • monitor and evaluate strategies and implementation plans relating to people management;
  • approve any policy amendment, funding or resource submission to achieve the Staff Governance Standard;
  • take responsibility for the timely submission of all staff governance information required for national monitoring arrangements;
  • provide staff governance information for the statement of internal control; and
  • provide assurance that systems and procedures are in place to manage the issues set out in MEL (1993) 114 (amended).

5.5 Remuneration Committee

Each NHSScotland Board, through its Standing Orders, is required to establish a Remuneration Committee, whose main function is to ensure the application and implementation of fair and equitable pay systems on behalf of the Board, as determined by Ministers and the Scottish Government, and described in MEL (1993) 114 and subsequent amendments.

The Remuneration Committee will also, through the Staff Governance Committee, be required to provide assurance that systems and procedures are in place to manage the issues set out in MEL (1993) 114 (amended), so that overarching staff governance responsibilities can be discharged. The Staff Governance Committee will not be given the detail of confidential employment issues that are considered by the Remuneration Committee: these can only be considered by non-executive Directors of the Board.

Membership of the Remuneration Committee must include, as a minimum, three non-executive Directors of the NHS Board, one of whom should, in normal circumstances, be the Employee Director. This should be carefully considered by the Chair and Employee Director of the NHS Board. Where the Employee Director does not have membership of the Remuneration Committee there must be a clear and transparent justification for the decision.

Appropriate training and development will be provided to ensure that members of this Sub-Committee have the skills and knowledge to carry out this role.

5.6 Local Partnership Forum

The NHS Board Partnership Forum has a key role in ensuring that best practice is shared across local structures, including integrated systems of health and social care and other contractors. It will be a system-wide approach and will carry out policy development across the health system to support staff governance. The Forum should also advocate, broker and monitor staff-side involvement in all aspects of service planning, strategy development and workforce planning.

The Partnership Forum should ensure that all available data from the Staff Governance Standard's monitoring arrangements is used to create a Staff Governance Action Plan. The Staff Governance Action Plan should underpin the Local Delivery Plan and Workforce Plan. In this way, the Forum will contribute to the development of the Local Delivery Plan and Workforce Plan and assess the impact of decisions upon the staff governance agenda, feeding in solutions and proposals as necessary. This will allow the Forum to participate in the wider strategic organisational objectives of the NHS Board and the key areas of Board accountability and governance.

The specific responsibilities of the Forum are to:

  • take a proactive approach in embedding partnership working at all levels to assist the process of devolved decision-making in relation to staff;
  • be involved in the processing of the staff experience and staff governance monitoring arrangements;
  • submit recommendations and details of the staff experience and staff governance monitoring arrangements and associated action plans to the Staff Governance Committee;
  • be linked into regional planning arrangements for service and workforce development and delivery; and
  • link with the SPF (through SWAG) and provide reports on progress within its area. This flow of information is two-way, and the SPF and SWAG will consult with NHS Board Partnership Forums on any proposals for policy development they are considering, and any problems highlighted from statistical returns that require local attention or explanation.

The Staff Governance Action Plan will be submitted to the Staff Governance Committee who will be responsible for ensuring that performance management of the action plan is being carried out.

5.7 Staff Side Chair of NHS Boards Partnership Forum - Employee Director

To reinforce the importance of partnership working and the role of Partnership Forums in the decision-making process, the Staff Side Chair of each NHS Board Partnership Forum will, subject to Ministerial approval, be invited to sit on the NHS Board as Employee Director.

In addition to the collective responsibilities shared by all members of NHS Boards, the Staff Side Chair of the Partnership Forum will have a key role in:

  • providing a staff perspective on strategy development and service delivery issues considered by the NHS Board;
  • acting as a focal point for staff from across the local NHS system who wish to contribute to the business of the NHS Board;
  • explaining the work of the NHS Board and promoting opportunities for staff to be involved in decision-making locally;
  • reflecting the views of local Partnership Forums on the performance of employers within the local NHS system in discharging their staff governance responsibilities; and
  • championing partnership working and providing a vital link between the NHS Board and the Partnership Forums.

5.8 The Scottish Government - Health Workforce and Performance Directorate

The Health Workforce and Performance Directorate will provide support and assistance to any NHS Board that requires it, particularly on issues concerning staff governance, partnership and employment practice.

The Directorate will also carry out national monitoring of staff governance implementation on behalf of SWAG and produce information for the annual review process.

There will be robust links between the NHS Board Partnership Forums, the SPF, SWAG and the Health Workforce and Performance Directorate, in order to support and enhance the practical implementation of the Staff Governance Standard. These links will be maintained through the membership to inform decisions around the development of workforce policy to support NHSScotland in achieving national goals.


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