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The NHS People Plan 2020 (We are the NHS: People Plan for 2020/2021 – action for us all) rightly puts our people at the front and centre of the NHS, including those working in primary and community care. Here, we set out a preliminary definition and set of principles for flexible working. They are intended to be aspirational and take one of our first steps towards making the People Plan commitments a reality.

The definition aims to support the shared and common understanding of flexible working that we need to achieve fair, equitable and consistent practice. The principles look to guide the ethos and values that should make flexible working become ‘simply how we work’ in the NHS. The principles form a foundation for flexible working, and organisations are encouraged to innovate and test out approaches to support the embedding of flexible working.

We know that many NHS organisations have flexible working policies and as such feel as if they are already offering flexible working options. However, we also know from the NHS Staff Survey, that many people still feel unsatisfied with their opportunities for flexible working, despite the existence of these policies. We also know that staff often cite ‘work-life balance’ as a reason for leaving the NHS, which may in part recognise that our people don’t feel that they have the flexibility they need to achieve the right balance for them. There is an ambition in the NHS to go beyond the minimum statutory requirements to push the boundaries and enhance the culture around flexible working. These ambitions are outlined in our set of ten principles below and we would encourage organisations to adopt and embed them as standard practice.

The definition and principles are relevant to all individuals as defined below. They are intended as complementary to the NHS Terms & Conditions of Service Handbook and the supporting guidance produced by the NHS Staff Council. This document can also act as a source of guidance for wider providers of NHS-funded services, such as general practice, community pharmacy or dental services, whilst appreciating that local terms and conditions may vary. For simplicity, the term ‘manager’ is used throughout to refer to those who have direct managerial or educational responsibility for a particular individual. This may include, but is not limited to, line managers, supervisors and trainers. The term “individual” is used to refer to employees and workers on a permanent or fixed term NHS Senior Manager, Agenda for Change and Medical & Dental contracts within England.

While we fully expect all NHS organisations to embrace and work towards implementation of the definition and principles, this document is not statutory guidance and is not intended to create new or additional legal obligations on organisations.

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Source: NHS

Posted in News on Feb 07, 2022

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