Horizon scanning 2017


Take a look at some of the activities coming up across the NHS from January to March 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. 

With the new financial year approaching, we have also taken the opportunity to highlight developments on the horizon for April and beyond.

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



Further information and resources

Guardians of safe working hours are required to submit their quarterly board reports in January 2017.
Information for guardians of safe working hours
Gender pay gap guidance is expected to be published in January 2017, and public sector reporting regulations will follow by April.
Gender pay gap reporting - what you need to know
The Department of Health is consulting on a review of healthcare professional regulation.  Employers are encouraged to respond to the consultation individually as well as collectively.
Professional Standards Authority website
A timetable for the 2016 staff survey results will be published in January, with actual results expected released in February/March. NHS Staff Survey website
STP plans will get formal approval in January 2017 and local engagement will begin around the impact on staff and services. NHS England operational planning guidance
Two ESR developments are expected in early 2017: Release 33 in January and Release 34 in March.  These releases will affect functionality and user interface.  Employer support for the changes is available via the ESR team.  ESR website
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has opened a consultation on the new framework for inspections in the NHS.  Employers are encouraged to contribute to the collective response with particular focus on 'use of resources and the well-led assessments' elements. Tell us your views on the well-led assessments and resources
NHS Improvement has developed some draft guidance on safe staffing in adult acute and learning disability settings, which they are consulting on until 3 February. Feedback will inform the final guidance to be published later in the year. 
Safe staffing guidance - information page


Activity  Further information and resources 
2 February - NHS Employers/Capsticks workshop event focusing on workforce changes and the productivity challenge (Leeds)
Event webpage
17 February - Closing date for DWP consultation on work, health and disability.
Work, health and disability: consultation webpage
February is LGBT history month Diversity and Inclusion: updates and events
February - April: Continued phased introduction of the junior doctors' contract.  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. Junior doctors contract - implementation timeline


Activity  Further information and resources 
7 March - NHS Employers/Capsticks workshop event focusing on corporate services and streamlining (London).
Event web page to follow
8 March - International Women's Day.
Diversity and inclusion: updates and events
14 March - Guardian of safe working hours national conference (London) Event web page
15 March - Freedom to Speak Up employers share and learn forum (Leeds).  Support for managers in handling concerns and tackling bullying and harassment. Event web page
31 March - NHS Staff Council meeting (London) NHS Staff Council: purpose and membership
It is anticipated that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March 2017, to begin the process for Britain to withdraw from the EU. Brexit and NHS workforce
The NHS Employers people performance management toolkit will be refreshed and relaunched in March 2017. People performance management toolkit

Other activities expected in early 2017

Activity  Further information and resources 
A second tranche of 1,000 nursing associates is expected to start in early 2017.
Nursing associate role
The NHS Staff Council Job Evaluation Group will be completing a job evaluation healthcheck survey in early 2017.
Job evaluation group
New retire and return arrangements are expected to come into force early 2017 (no detail yet available)

April and beyond

Activity  Further information and resources 
A new CQC inspection framework comes in from April 2017 (see details of January consultation above)
New pension scheme administration levy takes effect from 1 April (subject to current consultation closing on 9 January)
Consultation on the NHS pension scheme employer levy
NHS Pay Review Body report, advising on the uplift for NHS staff in 2017/18, will be published in March.  Decision on the uplift will be confirmed in a pay circular effective from 1 April. NHS Employers pay review body evidence
New rules on salary sacrifice arrangements come into force from 6 April 2017 Salary sacrifice changes
From 6 April 2017, employers with more than 250 staff will be required to calculate and publish differences in gender pay on an annual basis (expected first report will be due in April 2018).  Specific public sector regulations for reporting are still TBC but also expected to be in force by April 2017. Gender pay gap reporting - what you need to know 
An immigration skills charge will be applied to employers of non-EEA migrants under Tier 2 from April 2017.  Some exemptions apply. Tier 2: policy changes
In April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers applying for a Tier 2 visa will increase to £30,000.  New entrants to the job market, and some health and education staff will be exempted from the salary threshold until 2019. Tier 2: policy changes

Guardians of safe working hours are required to submit their quarterly board reports and first annual report in April 2017.
Information for guardians of safe working hours
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. Medical contract reform
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 he public sector within 12 months of leaving
Reforms to public sector exit payments
It is anticipated that sections of the Trade Union Act will come into force in March/April 2017.  Draft regulations have been published. Trade Union Act draft regulations
The Secretary of State is to respond to a report on recommendations to changes to the state pension age by 7 May 2017.  
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 TBC. NHS England Workforce Disability Equality Standard

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