The national Social Partnership Forum (SPF) exists to engage stakeholders in the NHS, and to give them a chance to discuss, debate and influence policy where there are workforce implications. 

This review, commissioned by the SPF from the IPA aims to identify successes of the SPF during the previous year, examine its strengths, suggest areas for improvements, and confirm the extent to which it is fit for purpose within the current system.

The review is based on a literature review, 16 interviews with SPF members, a wider survey of SPF members, and observation of SPF meetings. 

Findings from the study suggest that following substantial changes to the SPF, it appears to be working effectively, and has delivered a wide variety of achievements in the last year. It has helped preserve positive relationships and effective partnership working despite the difficult industrial relations climate. There is a strong and enduring commitment among all stakeholders to partnership working. However, there is a risk that the current industrial relations climate may undermine this relationship in the future. 

Outcomes of our research and views of partners also suggest that the SPF needs to identify and actively address key strategic issues for the NHS. There is also a need for the SPF to be more 'action-focused' and highlight where it has brought about tangible difference to policy and the workforce. 

To download the full report click here.