Horizon scanning 2017


Take a look at some of the activities coming up across the NHS from April to June 2017, which may impact on HR directors.

Our horizon-scanning page details events and activities that HR directors need to be aware of, or that require action, as well as useful information and resources to support you. 

We have also taken the opportunity to highlight developments on the horizon for beyond June.

If you have any suggestions for content, please email nationalengagement@nhsemployers.org   



Further information and resources

1 per cent pay uplifts for NHS staff have been confirmed in a pay circular effective from 1 April.
Access the pay circulars
New NHS Pension Scheme administration levy takes effect from 1 April 2017.  Employers will need to have made arrangements with their payroll providers to ensure the levy is deducted in April.
Detail of the levy
The Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017 came into force on 1 April. Under the Regulations, relevant public sector employers will have to publish on their website certain information relating to trade union officials and facility time for the relevant period.
Link to follow
From April 2017 the national living wage increases from £7.20 to £7.50 for staff aged 25 or over.  The national minimum wage for workers aged 21-24 also increases to £7.05, and to £5.60 for those aged 18-20. Income tax personal allowance increases to £11,500, with the higher-rate threshold rising to £45,000.
Gov.uk website
Statutory maternity, adoption and shared parental pay will rise to £140.98 a week from 2 April 2017.
CIPD website
New rules for salary sacrifice arrangements come into force from 6 April 2017.
Detail of the arrangements
From 6 April 2017, the way the current intermediaries legislation (known as IR35) is applied to off-payroll working in the public sector will change.  Where the new rules apply, people who work in the public sector through an intermediary (eg a personal services company) will pay have to pay employment taxes in a similar way to employees.
Detail of the changes and impact on employers
Changes to requirements for overseas police checks come into force from 6 April 2017.  The criminal record check standard has been amended to reflect new requirements.
Access the amended standard
From 6 April 2017 large employers in England will have to pay an apprenticeship levy, and funds to pay for apprenticeship training will be accessed through an online digital account.  A target for apprentice starts will apply to all public sector organisations with more than 250 employees set at 2.3% of headcount.
More detail on the levy
From 6 April 2017, adjustments come into effect for tribunal compensation limits, National Insurance thresholds and statutory sick pay rates.
CIPD website
An immigration skills charge (ISC) will be applied to employers of non-EEA migrants under Tier 2 from April 2017.  The ISC is a flat rate of £1,000 per person per year of the sponsorship. Some exemptions apply.
Details of the charge
From April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers applying for a Tier 2 visa will increase to £30,000. Some exemptions apply.
Detail of the increase
The Department of Health has launched a consultation seeking views on new legal protection, which prevents employers from discriminating against staff when recruiting if they have raised a public interest disclosure.  Closing deadline Friday 21 April.
Detail of the consultation
Jobcentre Plus (JCP) will launch a week of action from 24 April 2017, aiming to upskill their job coaches to become more knowledgeable on the NHS as an employer. JCP will be encouraging local offices to contact and strengthen connections with NHS organisations.
Information on the week of action
Tax-free childcare will become available from 28 April 2017, under a new government scheme.
Gov.uk website
NHS Improvement is seeking employer feedback on new draft guidance for safe staffing in community and mental health settings.  Deadline for responses is 28 April.
Access the consultation
A new DBS eligibility tool will be released in April 2017. The tool will guide employers in deciding whether a DBS check is required and at what level.
Access the DBS tool
From April 2017 each sustainability and transformation plan (or agreed population/geographical area) will have a financial control total that is also the summation of the individual organisational control totals.
NHS England planning guidance
Regional seminars will be held in April on the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).  These events will explore the impact of the WRES.  Employers are also encouraged to access the 2016 WRES report for examples of good practice.
More detail and booking for the events

WRES report 2016
The staff wellbeing and flu CQUIN scheme will continue for a further two years from April 2017.  To access funding through the scheme, providers need to introduce health and wellbeing programmes, healthier food options and achieve a 70% uptake for the flu vaccine by February 2018.
More detail on the CQUIN
Continued phased introduction of junior doctor contract through early April. Transition to new terms and conditions for psychiatry, pathology, paediatrics, surgical doctors and F2 and GP trainees taking up new appointments on the same rotas.
Information for employers on the contract, including an implementation timeline
April 2017 - Guardian of safe working quarterly board reports due and first annual report due.
Information for guardians
New retire and return guidance expected to come in early 2017.  No definite implementation date yet available.
Information will be added when available
Under the new 2016 junior doctor contract, regional streamlining for recruitment of doctors must be established by April 2017.
Information on streamlining
Some Foundation Year 2 trainee doctors who are taking up a new post on 2016 terms on 5 April 2017 will have their cash floor uplifted to 40 per cent (1B) banding. More detail on which trainees are affected


Activity  Further information and resources 
4 May – Reward in the NHS event.  This will feature a range of expert speakers from both inside and outside the NHS showcasing examples of good reward practice.
Book your place
Secretary of State to respond to report on recommendations to changes to State Pension Age by 7 May 2017
More detail when available
15 – 19 May is Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week, a national platform for organisations to highlight their work to create a fairer, more inclusive NHS for patients and staff.
Find out more and get involved
19 May – NHS Disability Summit 2017
Book your place
24 May – Flu Fighter conference, Leeds
Book your place
All current Electronic Staff Record (ESR) users will be transferred to a new portal/landing page, as part of the 'ESR development roadmap' plans Read more about the ESR development roadmap


Activity  Further information and resources 
13 June – NHS Employers Workforce Summit 2017
Book your place
14/15 June – Confed17 (NHS Confederation Conference)
Book your place
Armed Forces Week runs from 19 – 24 June, culminating in Armed Forces Day on Saturday 24 June. Reserves Day will be held on Wednesday 21 June.  Employers are encouraged to share photos of their reservists prior to the day.
More detail on Armed Forces Week

Other activities expected in 2017

Activity  Further information and resources 
New regulations for public sector exit payments and repayments are expected to come into force in early 2017 (no specific date yet available):
- Exit payment cap of £95,000
- Repayment requirements for anyone earning over £80,000 who returns to the public sector within 12 months of leaving.
Detail of the new regulations
The CQC intends to publish a revised approach for the inspection of NHS organisations following a consultation completed in December 2016. This will include an annual inspection of all organisations using a new well-led framework.
More detail when available
The Department of Health will be leading a 12-week consultation on UK healthcare professional regulatory reform.
More detail when available
Under healthcare education funding reforms, bursaries will be removed for most professionally accredited healthcare courses from August 2017, though some exceptions apply.
Read more about the changes
The government is expected to launch an immigration consultation in the summer of 2017. NHS Employers will lead engagement with employers to influence discussions ahead of the consultation and to submit a formal response.
More detail when available
The Workforce Disability Equality Standard (WDES) will be mandated by NHS England from April 2018.  Details of consultation and preparatory action required during 2017 are still to be confirmed.
NHS England website
Talks on the reform of the consultant contract are expected to continue in 2017.  Engagement with employers will follow to inform and confirm the outcome of negotiations.
Detail of the consultant contract negotiations
Data Protection Regulation – A new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018.  The scope of the changes mean that preparation for the GDPR will be high priority for employers in 2017.  Further guidance to follow.
Detail from NHS Confed on protecting and managing data

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