100 places on offer for NHS programme that helps trusts design flexible working plans

NHS England and Improvement is working with Timewise – a flexible working consultancy and research hub – to deliver a programme that helps organisations to devise flexible working action plans.

There are 100 funded places on offer through the NHS Flex for the Future scheme, which provides practical help to staff and supports them to design workforce plans that meet NHS People Plan commitments.

Registration has been open since late July and closes on 20 August 2021. The core of the programme is based around six virtual workshops that range from 90 minutes to two hours in length.

It’s recommended that interested trusts create and sign-up a project change team consisting of at least five people, rather than just individuals, from across an organisation – including line managers and clinicians – to ensure a mix of perspectives.

In an introductory video, Jane Galloway, Head of Flexible Working at NHS England and Improvement and Timewise’s Amy Butterworth discussed what the programme offers and how to apply.

Explaining what organisations will get from signing up, Amy said: “You will be participating in a step-by-step programme which is going to enable you to create your own local, tailored flexible working action plan. That’s really going to help you deliver on your flexible working commitments within the People Plan, [and] making sure that you have flexible working opportunities available for your whole workforce.

“The nature of that means it is really tailored – so it doesn’t matter whether you’re right at the beginning of your flexible working journey, or whether you feel like you’ve already got some good practices in place and you want to really deepen and expand those.”

One the plus points of the collaboration between Timewise and NHS England and Improvement, she added: “The beauty of working with NHSE&I on this is that participants will get the benefit of expertise from both organisations…and also from one another.

“You’ll be part of a cohort if you sign-up – developing relationships with, and drawing on the learning from, other trusts [and] other NHS organisations.”

Jane added: “That cohort approach is going to be so important isn’t it? [It will be] so good to learn from each other as we all go through this journey together, no-matter where we’re starting from.”

The six virtual workshops will provide teams with tools and templates for practical use within their own trusts.

“You’re committing, not only to attend the programme schedule sessions but also [to] doing that work in between. That’s where the project lead will really have responsibility, within your project group. We’d also recommend that you find a senior, executive-level champion,” Amy advised.

“We can certainly provide you, as I said, with the tools and the techniques and the knowledge – you’ll really develop your own technical knowledge – but the more time you have to devote to this and the more engagement you can get, and traction within your organisation, the better.”

To apply for the NHS Flex for the Future programme, click here and fill out the form.

Or, to watch the full video about the programme, view it via YouTube.