Health Education England and NHS Improvement Joint Working Announcement

NHS Improvement and Health Education England (HEE) have announced plans to work more closely together to ensure the national workforce system is aligned.

This includes the role for both organisations in developing the mandate set by the Government on workforce planning, staff education and training, and the NHS Leadership Academy becoming part of the new People function, which will be hosted by NHS Improvement.

The Government’s announcement of the five-year funding settlement and the development of the long-term plan has demonstrated the importance of national, regional and local organisations working together effectively to support the NHS.

The arrangement will build on the close working arrangement that NHS Improvement and HEE already have on workforce, including jointly overseeing the workstream on workforce for the NHS’s long-term plan.

As part of this, NHS Improvement is moving towards integrating its national and regional functions with NHS England and it is shifting its focus from regulation to improvement. This includes the creation of a Chief People Officer role and a People directorate, which will be hosted by NHS Improvement and will be responsible for providing a cohesive approach to recruiting, retaining, deploying and developing the current NHS workforce.

Today’s announcement confirms that:

  • HEE will work jointly with NHS Improvement to develop its mandate for 2019/20 onwards. HEE’s board will continue to sign-off the draft mandate, but as a new step the mandate will then need to be approved by NHS Improvement’s Board to ensure it aligns with service requirements, before approval by the Secretary of State. This will ensure that workforce plans are more closely aligned with NHS service plans.
  • Subject to any necessary consultations and any other necessary legal steps, from 1 April 2019 the NHS Leadership Academy will transfer from HEE to the new People function that will be hosted by NHS Improvement. This will maximise the natural fit between the work of the NHS Leadership Academy and the People function’s responsibility for executive and non-executive leadership and talent across the NHS.
  • Opportunities will be identified for HEE’s regional teams to align with the seven integrated regional teams of NHS Improvement and NHS England, in order to continue to build on the strong collaborative working that already exists across the country in support of local health systems.


Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England said: “As set out in the draft workforce strategy HEE believes that closer alignment between service, financial and workforce planning is essential and I therefore welcome greater collaboration between the bodies responsible for these areas. At national, regional and local level NHS must have confidence that our organisations are working together on workforce challenges to support both day to day delivery and the long-term plan. The move of the NHS Leadership Academy to NHSI also allows the Academy to align even more closely with NHSI’s responsibility for talent management.” 

Ian Dalton, Chief Executive of NHS Improvement, said: “A strong workforce is critical to the future of the NHS. By integrating the work of Health Education England with NHS Improvement, we will develop a more coherent approach to workforce development across the NHS. I look forward to building a closer working relationship with Health Education England and welcoming colleagues from the NHS Leadership Academy from next April.”