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NHS to roll out ‘competency passport’ scheme


The NHS is set to roll out a national ‘Skills Passport for Health’ scheme in order to improve talent management and reduce admin costs, following the success of a year-long pilot project.

The proof-of-concept trial was undertaken among nursing staff at seven English NHS Trusts during the financial year 2009-2010. Workers created a verified online record of their skills, qualifications and experience, which could then be viewed by existing or prospective employers.
Research from Skills for Health found strong support for the ‘competency passport’ scheme. Employers believed that it had the potential to reduce the unnecessary duplication of statutory and mandatory training and cut the number of pre-employment checks required each time a worker moved between NHS employers.
Nurses, meanwhile, thought that the initiative could make it simpler to change jobs as the existence of an online record would make it easier to demonstrate their suitability for a given post. They also said that it could help them to plan and manage their careers more effectively.
Skills for Health chief executive John Rogers said: “This pilot project has demonstrated that there is a clear ‘proof of concept’ for a passport for the health sector, and we look forward to working with our partners to develop the concept further” prior to a possible nationwide roll-out.
The trial arose from an action point in the ‘Modernising Nursing Careers, Setting the Direction’ (DH 2006) report and was carried out under the guidance of Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, David Foster.
He said: “The nursing workforce has repeatedly called for some form of competency passport to support the modernisation of nursing careers and this pilot was a direct response to that call.”
The trial had not only confirmed the case for a skills passport but also provided additional benefits for employers, health workers, universities and health service users, he added.
Chris Phillips, vice president of international marketing at talent management software provider Taleo, also welcomed a potential introduction of the system.
“For any organisation, but particularly one as large and diverse as the NHS, having accurate and readily accessible information on the talents of each employee is now more important than ever,” he said. “By collecting and continually updating detailed employee data within an integrated technology platform, organisations can record the relevant skills, experiences and preferences of each individual in a talent profile.”
Such information meant that employers would be able to adopt an approach to talent management that was “previously out of reach – proactively deploying people into the most impactful roles, identifying and developing future leaders and building talent pipelines for critical roles in the NHS”, he added.

One Response

  1. Skills Passport For Health
    It seems to me the project has shown there are potential benefits from a national skills passport scheme (though some of the benefits identified by interview participants require a significant leap of faith) …. but there are other reasons why the project may not be rolled out in the way described.

    For more information read my article –

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Charlie Duff


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