The Improving Working Lives Standard makes it clear that every member of staff in the NHS is entitled to work in an organisation which can prove that it is investing in more flexible, supportive and family friendly working arrangements that will improve diversity, tackle discrimination and harassment, and develop the skills of all its staff to improve patient services.
There are three stages to achieving the IWL Standard:
- Pledge, which requires organisations to put in place the policies, procedures and plans to achieve accreditation.
- Practice stage requires organisations to provide a portfolio of evidence over a wide range of policies and procedures that show they are improving the working lives of staff. This stage does allow some leeway, and organisations can be accredited even if they do not have these policies and procedures in place for all staff, as long as they have action plans to continue to make improvements in all aspects of HR practices.
- Practice Plus means achievement in all staff groups across the whole organisation.
The Trust now has Practice accreditation and received an excellent Accreditation Report. We are now working towards the final stage, Practice Plus. All organisations will be required to reach Practice Plus status by 31st March 2006.
The Trust needs to demonstrate that it is a Practice Plus employer through a process of organisational review – or self-assessment – by consultation with staff and acting on the outcomes. The methods involved in the self-assessment include seeking the views and experiences of staff in all staff groups against the IWL Standard to back up and support any documentary evidence we may have.
The IWL areas of good practice cover many facets of working life. Most are interlinked, however the following areas are the headings of the IWL Practice Plus Standard and the areas to be discussed in different focus groups:
1. Human Resource Strategy and Management
2. Equality and Diversity
3. Staff Involvement and Communication
4. Flexible Working
5. Healthy Working
6. Training and Development
7. Flexible Retirement, Childcare and Carers’ Support
View the Self-assessment Report (pdf document)