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Our foundations for success

Achievement of our goals, objectives and core business requires HEE to be as effective an organisation as possible. Our purpose, goals and objectives are reflective of feedback from stakeholders and colleagues; our priorities are the NHS’ priorities.

To underpin these five foundations, we will embed an improvement culture with the Institute of Health Improvement (IHI) to help deliver our objectives and goals.

Best Place to Work

In line with People Plan expectations, the HEE Board has committed to HEE becoming the best place to work with a particular focus on equality, diversity and inclusion. We believe that happy, healthy, supported and engaged staff will have a greater connection to HEE, be more productive and better place us to meet our mission. As part of a comprehensive and ongoing staff engagement process - ‘We are HEE’ - we identified six strategic outcomes.

These outcomes relate to our culture; rewarding staff; talent and diversity; staff development; staff engagement; and work environments. These were the areas colleagues identified in We are HEE as those requiring improvement if we are to become the Best Place to Work. However, HEE cannot be the best place to work just for some people - if anyone feels excluded, marginalised, or discriminated against, then everything else is for naught.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Framework is core to Best Place to Work. This framework is structured around the key themes of: our people; our business; and our influence. HEE is committed to systemic change to enable an inclusive culture which recognises differences and celebrates diversity. HEE will ensure that diversity and inclusion is being furthered through organisational, directorate, team and individual objectives, as well as business planning and performance management processes. We will use our influence with stakeholders to further diversity and inclusion in the wider healthcare system.

The pandemic has had a significant physical, mental and psychological impact on our people that will continue for some time to come so supporting people to stay well is a priority. The ‘staying well’ workstream focusses on physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Other workstreams include ‘Learning at Work’, ‘Management development’, ‘Resourcing and attracting talent’ and ‘The future of work’. More detail can be found here.

Digital First

HEE is committed to becoming a ‘Digital First’ organisation, walking the walk we started for the NHS with our Topol Review. Digital competence, investment and literacy must be central to how we work, including our use of data and intelligence, ability to demonstrate value and influence on wider service and health improvement.

We have rapidly accelerating opportunities to use technology to work differently, linking with our Future of Work agenda. We will consider how, what, why and when we use technology and develop new HEE roles to support our changing needs and the changing nature of our service users.

Our ambition in delivering services ‘Digital First’ will mean we can achieve more benefit, faster and in a more personalised way for the users of all services we provide for learners, employers, educators, system partners and of course our own staff.

Governance and processes

Good governance allows people to do their jobs safely and securely in the knowledge they are protected and supported by the organisation. It sets the environment for inclusive, dispersed and accountable decision making. This includes how we align and coordinate across directorates, regions and Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (PGMDE), and better understanding how and where decisions are made and how we improve transparency and accountability.

The pandemic reset phase, allied to a relatively new Board, presents us with the opportunity to recalibrate the assurance element of our governance. We are working with the Good Governance Institute (GGI) to agree a Board Assurance Framework.

We are working with NHSE/I on Regional People Boards which bring together key stakeholders around People Plan implementation and ICS workforce plans. They also currently carry out our LETB functions which are set for abolition in forthcoming legislation which we support.

Partnership, co-operation and collaboration

Collaborative working between HEE, DHSC, and NHSE/I on the NHS People Plan, our Mandate and setting of workforce budgets has proved beneficial for all.

COVID-19 accelerated the pace of collaboration across health and care, at strategic and operational levels. We will continue to strengthen our key relationships to help us understand what matters to stakeholders. We will specifically strengthen cooperation at place and system level to support integration, clarify responsibility for workforce planning and transformation and improve the workforce with ICSs.

We will also work with Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs) and DHSC to ensure integrated arrangements for the delivery and oversight of manifesto commitments and other shared priorities.

Continuous Quality Improvement

We will further develop and embed performance maturity, continuing our journey to embrace a performance culture that turns information into intelligence and supports evidence-based decision making. We need the right information to determine whether we are delivering what we promised by aligning our performance and accountability frameworks with this Business Plan. We will define key business questions (KBQs) to shape metrics allowing us to track performance and correct if needed. It also provides accountability to key stakeholders.

These five foundations are critical to HEE to improve our processes, governance, alignment, transparency and culture. They set the foundation for HEE’s improvement journey and are vital to meeting our objectives and becoming the best place to work, thereby embedding improvement over years to come.