Embedding the Knowledge & Skills Framework

Back to all Motions

2008 Health Care Service Group Conference
13 December 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework is an important part of Agenda for Change. It provides a single, consistent, and explicit framework for annual review and development of staff, and is the driver for pay progression. The KSF gives staff a contractual right to access learning and development opportunities and thereby provides a basis for developing staff in lower grades that have had little opportunity to build their knowledge and skills. It also supports modernisation and organisational change in a partnership framework.

Conference notes with concern that KSF implementation has been patchy and in many areas, access to training has been given a low priority, especially for those in the lower pay bands. Employers need to be encouraged to support KSF implementation and understand the benefits it will bring. As a result of pressure at ministerial level in England early in 2007, the NHS unions secured support for a project designed to give a renewed push for full implementation of the KSF and a renewed emphasis on its associated benefits. The project included the sharing of good practice examples showing how organisations had made KSF implementation simple; new awareness and training materials; case studies identifying the benefits of KSF both to organisations and staff; the re-establishment of a national KSF partnership network linked to local networks; and a KSF event in each of the ten Strategic Health Authorities during autumn 2007. Whilst the project was confined to England, the other UK health departments continued their own strategies to embed the KSF, and information resources continue to be shared between the four countries.

Conference reaffirms its expectation that the KSF should bring a rapid expansion of learning and development activities among NHS staff. Conference fully supports UNISON’s continued efforts to promote a culture of lifelong learning and to ensure that all staff gain equal access to the opportunities afforded by the KSF. Conference therefore calls upon the Health Service Group Executive to continue to support the KSF agenda by:

1)Campaigning for adequate resources to ensure the full implementation and maintenance of the KSF across the NHS in all four countries;

2)Working closely with the national KSF Group to support implementation, share good practice, monitor and maintain the KSF;

3)Promoting a culture of lifelong learning through joint work with UNISON’s Learning & Organising Services;

4)Raising awareness of the role of union learning reps in supporting members through the KSF process;

5)Encouraging branches to use KSF and the learning agenda to build union organisation;

6)Encourage branches to be proactive in raising the profile of equality, diversity and human rights issues as one of the core elements of the KSF.