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Values based recruitment

Values based recruitment is an approach which attracts and recruits students, trainees and employees on the basis that their individual values and behaviours align with the values of the NHS Constitution. This should take place as part of existing recruitment processes which assess aptitude and skills.


The purpose of our values based recruitment (VBR) programme was to ensure that we recruit the right workforce not only with the right skills and in the right numbers, but with the right values to support effective team working in delivering excellent patient care and experience.

An online tool for potential employers has gone live at the NHS Jobs website.

Published in October 2014 and refreshed in April 2016, our national VBR framework will help ensure that all students recruited to NHS funded training programmes are recruited for the values of the NHS Constitution. The framework also encourages NHS employers to do the same when recruiting employees to help bring about a standardised approach to recruitment. Any organisation implementing VBR is required to do so with consideration to equality and diversity and HR policies and employment law.  

The framework, a user guide and an equality and diversity analysis for the VBR programme can be downloaded in the related documents section below.

There has been an increasing focus on values in recent years thanks in part to reports and enquiries including the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (Francis, 2013), which highlighted the vital role of the workforce in providing high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare, particularly the values and behaviours of staff caring for patients. Whilst VBR may not solve all of the concerns Francis had, it will go some way to help ensure we have a future workforce not only with the right skills and in the right numbers, but with the right values to support effective team working in delivering excellent patient care and experience. VBR is just one of many national programmes of work and initiatives being undertaken across the health and social care system to address values. You can read more about some of these in the VBR framework.

Values are also integral to Framework 15. We may not be able to predict exactly how we will train our future workforce or what the NHS will look like in 2029, however one thing we do know is that the values we require from people in the NHS in order to be able to care for patients will remain the same.

HEE’s VBR programme had three elements:
•    Recruiting for Values into Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs)
•    Recruiting for Values into the NHS (in partnership with NHS Employers)
•    The evidence base for Values Based Recruitment

Stakeholder advisory group

During development of the framework, the VBR Stakeholder Advisory Group (VSAG) provided a means of obtaining stakeholder input and expertise into the values based recruitment programme to support its development and delivery and to help champion the VBR work at a national level.

Chaired by Sir Keith Pearson, HEE Chair, membership of the VSAG was comprised of representatives from the following organisations:

  • Health Education England
  • NHS Employers
  • NHS England
  • HEE Patients Advisory Forum (PAF)
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • NHS Leadership Academy
  • Monitor
  • Foundation Programme (UKFPO)
  • HEE North West
  • Medical Schools Council
  • Council of Deans of Health
  • Public Health England
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
  • NHS Trust Development Authority (NTDA)
  • Care Quality Commission (CQC)

We are keen to hear your feedback on the framework and the VBR project as a whole. Please contact us at hee.vbr@nhs.net if you have any comments or wish to share your experience of VBR.

National VBR framework

This framework sets out a number of national core requirements that HEIs will be expected to embed into their current recruitment processes by March 2015 to ensure that for all new recruitment rounds, all students are recruited for values as well as skills and aptitude. The framework also includes practical tools and resources to support the effective embedding of VBR in HEIs and employers.

The framework, a guide and an equality and diversity analysis for the VBR programme can be downloaded in the related documents section below.

VBR evidence

From its inception in 2013, the VBR programme has sought to build on the evidence for recruiting for values to inform the development of the national VBR framework and to ensure successful embedding of VBR across the system. Evidence generated by the VBR programme included:

  • A literature review of existing VBR methods (published February 2014)
  • A survey of existing recruitment to NHS funded undergraduate training programmes (published October 2014)
  • A review of VBR activity in NHS Trusts (published

All reports can be downloaded in the related documents section below.

Measuring the long term benefits of VBR is the focus of a three year longitudinal study which commenced in April 2015. An overview is provided below.

VBR case studies

A number of case studies have been produced to highlight examples of VBR. Read about these here. There are further examples from NHS employing organisations available on the NHS Employers website.

VBR resources

The framework includes practical tools and resources to support the effective embedding of VBR in HEIs and NHS employing organisations. You can download the following guides in the related documents section below:

  • Choosing a selection method
  • Structured interviews
  • Multiple mini interviews
  • Selection centres
  • Situational Judgement Tests
  • Personality Tests

There are further tools available on the NHS Employers website including the values mapping tool and VBR self-assessment checklist.

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