HR at the Heart of TeamWestHerts!

West Hertfordshire NHS Hospitals Trust

Paul Da Gama, Chief People Officer

Through a highly successful series of interventions led by the HR team, there has been a massive turnaround since 2015 when the Trust was put into special measures. Workforce metrics were poor with 28% Band 5 nurse vacancies, £37m agency spend bill and bottom quartile engagement scores.

The HR team embarked on a change programme, rebuilding the team from the bottom up, growing trust and respect among the various functions and changing the focus and culture. The People Strategy acted as a road map to better performance, overcoming the geographical challenges through focused engagement sessions, clear objective setting and better articulation of how each team member’s individual contribution matters. The result has been a massive turnaround and the team’s impact on the Trust’s organisational performance is plain to see, fostering a new culture of pride and excellence.

The workforce strategy included

  • Listening to staff and making real changes
  • A major overseas nurse recruitment programme recruiting around 250 nurses. A multi-professional year-long preceptor programme for nurses, AHPs, biomedical scientists and midwives
  • Creating an ‘agency consortium’ to help manage and coordinate the approach to agency spend alongside seven other local trusts
  • Overhauled information reports, driven by what managers said they needed to give easy access to data, in easy to understand and easy to share formats
  • Introduced the Team West Herts brand to maximise staff engagement.

Judges’ view

A truly transformational journey for the HR team and the Trust, supported by some significant achievements by #TeamWestHerts; the judges were particularly struck by the strong team spirit and focus on individual professional development that sits at the heart of their success.



Human Resources at NHFT

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Chris Oakes, Executive Director of HR and OD

The team is integral to the Trust’s achievement of key corporate objectives, as well as impact on frontline service delivery. The team has moved from a high-quality traditional HR function to a strategic, solution-focused team, delivering results recognised by the organisation as well as high profile national and international awarding bodies. Their achievement includes improved recruitment processes and initiatives that embed a positive working culture. This has contributed to the retention and development of staff and ensured that the Trust achieves its vision of being a leading provider of outstanding, compassionate care.

Judges’ view

This team is on a journey from traditional model of HR to a more progressive, engaging and multi skilled team approach to working with managers. Outcome and results focused, they showed great achievements and innovative, impactful projects making a difference to staff and patient care.




Business Services Organisation

Jill Macauley, Business Partner

BSO HR are a small team providing the full HR remit to the regional organisations across Northern Ireland, including business link specialists, pay and conditions, job evaluation, organisation management, learning and development and engagement at operational and strategic level. Over the past 12 months they have faced additional challenges through service provision expansion following structural changes and with their client base increasing. The team have done exceptional work, in addition to business as usual, including helping client organisations through an unprecedented level of industrial action; establishing an International Recruitment Service for doctors and nurses and achieving Investors in People Silver award.

Judges’ view

The judges were impressed the way this team rose to the challenges of organisational change, industrial action and increasing demand on their services. They showed great leadership skills and excellent team working.


NHS England and NHS Improvement sponsors this category.

The NHS Long Term Plan says that when organisations work together they provide better care for the public. That is why on 1 April 2019 NHS Improvement and NHS England united as one – our aim, to provide leadership and support to the wider NHS.  Nationally, regionally and locally, we champion frontline staff who provide a world-class service, and constantly work to improve the care available given to the people of England.

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