Social Partnership Forum

The Social Partnership Forum (SPF) brings together NHS Employers, NHS trade unions, NHS England, Health Education England and the Department of Health to discuss and debate the development and implementation of the workforce implications of policy.

SPF at a national level

The Social Partnership Forum is a forum for discussing, debating and involving partners in the development and implementation of policy where there are workforce implications.

The forum was first set up in March 1998, after a recognition of the positive contribution that partnership working can have on improving patient care by actively involving employers, employees and their trade unions in continuous dialogue around the entire decision-making process.

Since then, a growing body of evidence has emerged around the critical link between good staff engagement and patient experience and outcomes.

Partners’ shared values and principles for effective joint working are set out in a Partnership Agreement based on a shared commitment to meet the workforce challenges facing the NHS.

The primary aims of SPF are to:

  • Contribute staff side and employer perspectives to emerging policy at a formative stage
  • Improve policy development and implementation by feeding in ideas on workforce implications
  • promote good pracitce in relation to partnership working and effective communication betweeb partners

The SPF does not discuss the contractual arrangements for NHS staff as this is carried out in the national NHS Staff Council which has overall responsibility for the Agenda for Change pay system.

More Information about the SPF can be found on its website at