Lauren Summers, assistant branch secretary

Judges’ view: 
Demonstrating true partnership working, with the involvement of Staff Side in decision making and tactical groups. As a COVID response, it demonstrated so clearly that shared purpose and endeavour can be so well supported by genuine partnership working.

Management and unions acted as one team to lead through the unprecedented times of COVID-19 to support patients and staff. By working at pace in ‘real time,’ partnership decisions, innovation and blue-sky thinking became the norm and allowed them to do some extraordinary work together.

Collective expertise was used to ensure their people were helped to support patients and carers. While recognising  distinct roles  and different perspectives, strengthening the partnership delivered many immediate benefits.The mature and solid foundations of the social partnership gave great confidence and hope that through collective effort underpinned by a sense of pulling together, they could do their best for service users, carers and colleagues.

Key points:

  • ‘Pulling-together’ did not mean either management or Staff Side compromising their integrity and respective roles in industrial relations
  • Smarter and more efficient processes for policy review, organisational change, and job evaluation saves time and resources, and promotes organisational development
  • Management and unions working together makes for better decision making and policies as well as slicker processes, more engaged workforce
  • Approach relies on management and Staff Side’s committing time and resources- hugely worthwhile.

Highly Commended

Just and Learning Culture
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust successfully took positive action to improve staff experience in employment relations using just and learning culture principles through true partnership working. Inspired by the Mersey Care journey, they are making positive changes to how HR policies were written, applied and managed. Sustainable partnership working has been achieved: trust has been built, Staff Side have become the critical friend for HR providing challenge, openness and honesty. A whole new ethos has been achieved with managers understanding the restorative and learning approach around handling of incidents.

Judges’ View

A really strong element was the challenge to  existing culture and low starting point of the partnership relationship. Trust was  built between parties leading to measurable and positive improvements.


Leah Brewer, Head of Employment Relations

Sara Penter, Unison Branch Secretary 

RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme in Wales
Royal College of Nursing and HEIW

Working in partnership with Health Education and Improvement Wales and  NHS Wales, the RCN Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet scheme offers 16-25 year olds a blended learning opportunity.  A transformational learning experience combined with an observational clinical placement improves confidence, skills and knowledge and raises awareness of healthcare careers. The partnership with HEIW means it is funded and guided with a pilot phase followed by the launch in Wales, July 2019, with plans to roll it out in England.  

Judges’ View

Interesting project with a very practical aim to create an interest in the NHS in the next generation. Topical, important and system-wide across Wales.


Sandy Harding, Head of Prince of Wales Nursing Cadet Scheme, Royal College of Nursing

Angie Oliver, Deputy Director of Workforce & Organisational Development, Health Education Improvement Wales


Menopause at work: working together to improve staff experience
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

A partnership approach has developed a Staff Menopause Policy to support initiatives for staff and line managers. The project was created and delivered by managers, trade union representatives and Henpicked: Menopause in the Workplace.The goal was to break the stigma of menopause, equip staff and managers to have constructive conversations and enable staff experiencing the effects of menopause to access support to help them stay at and enjoy work.The commitment of the group was clear from the outset and has been sustained despite many challenges.

Judges’ View

Clearly demonstrated that they are working in partnership by building trust and confidence in delivering support and interventions for those with menopause and those supporting them.


Steph Knowles, Head of NUH Staff Wellbeing

Nicola Kacerovskis, Joint Staff Side Secretary

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