Marie-Claire Griffiths from the NHS Wales Shared Service Partnership explains how their link officer system works and looks at how it could be replicated in other branches.
Back in 2014, the Welsh Branch decided to create the role of link officer in each NHS Wales organisation to support the work being done by our HPMA members. Through our link officers, we can obtain a sharper focus on our membership.
Link officers are now vital to the running of our branch because they:
• Are trusted to be our eyes and ears on the ground
• Help to co-ordinate attendance at events
• Help to ensure all members have access to Network
• Can feedback issues, concerns and ideas
• Are able to tell us how we can best support the HR community in NHS Wales.
To help develop our link officers’ skills and provide support for them, we offer the following:
• We have a link officer co-ordinator, who is a direct contact for each of our link officers to provide guidance and support.
• We hold annual link officer development sessions so we can engage with them about how we can help them do their role.
In the future, we are planning to develop the role even further. This will include the following:
• Because of the success of the annual development sessions, we are now going to increase them to six monthly sessions
• We will develop a Wales branch newsletter that will be shared with organisations through link officers
• Link officers will co-ordinate local evening events showcasing best practice from their organisations.
We have found the link officer scheme invaluable to the development of our branch as a mechanism for communication into each of our membership organisations and would highly recommend it to other branches.
To set up a similar system, we suggest basing your approach on the steps we took:
· We wrote a proposal for the role which was discussed as the All Wales Workforce Directors meeting
· We wrote to the Workforce Director of the membership organisations and request nominations from their organisations
· We undertook a session with the nominated link officers on what HPMA is and worked together to develop a role profile
· We established link officer coordinator role on the committee to be their point of contact.