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Building the best place to work

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Please contact Acas on 0300 123 1150 for information on future events


For the first time ever, workplace experts Acas, are partnering with NHS Employers to present a unique, interactive conference that will explore some of the most pressing issues currently facing the health and social care sector: mental health; diversity and inclusion; bullying and harassment.

Join us as we debate these issues and share case studies and practical tips to help you build the best place to work.

Business need

According to the Nuffield Trust, there is a staff shortfall of 8% across the NHS. 53% of consultants say that gaps in hospital medical cover raise significant patient safety issues.

The NHS and the Social Partnership Forum have been working hard to improve employee experience, and recruitment and retention, but there is still some way to go. The 2018 staff survey showed that in the previous 12 months:

  • A quarter of respondents had experienced bullying, harassment or abuse by other staff. Only 41% reported it.
  • 29% of respondents indicated that their organisation takes positive action on health and wellbeing.
  • 70% of BME staff said their organisation offers equal opportunities, compared to 86.3% of white staff.
  • 40% of respondents reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress.

This conference will provide you with the knowledge and insight to enable you to improve working life for your employees, helping you retain your best people and demonstrate to prospective staff that the health and social care sector is a great place to work.

Throughout the day, Acas experts will provide you with practical skills and strategies to help you address the key issues and promote cultural change. NHS leaders will provide real insight into what has worked well within the sector and share information on the tools and policies available to you.

You will also have a choice of three interactive masterclasses and ample opportunity to network and share your experiences and ideas with partners across the sector.

Learn more about our conference speakers here.

NB: Subject to assessment, this conference is eligible for up to 5 CPD points.

Suitable For

Delegates from across the sector including: Heads of HR, HR managers and other HR professionals. Workforce leaders/deputies, staff engagement leads, diversity and inclusion leads, health and wellbeing leads, TU reps, practice managers (primary care audience), those in leadership and organisational development roles, and individuals who wish to enhance their CPD.



  • Susan Clews, Chief Executive of Acas
  • Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers

This opening keynote address will focus on the impact that current economic and political challenges are having across the health and social care sector. It will also consider the ways in which we can build a better place to work, leading to greater employee engagement and productivity.

Mental health and wellbeing: Everybody is responsible

  • Abigail Hirshman, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Acas
  • Joe Rafferty; Chief Executive of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

In this joint session, Joe will share some of the recent mental health challenges faced by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. Abigail will discuss practical tips for changing workplace culture, as well provide insight into the new ‘Acas framework for positive mental health at work’.

Building a good working environment for all 

  • Julie Dennis, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Acas (Chair)
  • Joan Saddler OBE, Associate Director of Patients and Communities, NHS Confederation
  • Sara Gorton, Head of Health, Unison

A panel discussion, followed by a Q&A focussing on improving the experience and minimising the disadvantages faced by employees who identify as being from an ethnic minority background.

Breakout session

A choice of 3 interactive masterclasses, designed to help delegates understand and address three key workplace challenges. Delegates are required to choose 1 of the following sessions:

1. Increasing personal resilience - Carole Sayer and Caroline Sandy, Acas Senior Advisers.

The importance of resilience and flexibility when handling change and adversity, for yourself and others.

2. Having difficult conversations - James Brown, Acas Senior Adviser.

Practical and effective techniques to confidently conduct difficult conversations with staff.

3. Speaking up and the use and misuse of NDAs - John Palmer, Acas Senior Guidance Editor.

Everything you need to know about NDAs: what the law says, when to use them, and when (importantly!) not to. You will have the opportunity to discuss a number of scenarios and work out how you would handle a range of situations.

NB: Delegates will be required to pre book their preferred breakout session. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first serve basis so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Bullying and harassment: How to change the mindset

  • Rich Jones, Acas Senior Adviser
  • Simon Nearney, Director of Workforce at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Simon and Rich will share their experience of working together to address the productivity and bullying and harassment challenges previously faced by Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Enabling the Trust to move from one of the lowest performing, to one of the top. Simon will also speak about the Trust’s journey ahead and the tools needed to achieve their goal.

Learn more about our conference speakers here.

Venue Horizon Leeds   Map (opens in new window)   Date 19/11/2019    Time 10:00 - 15:45   
Price £125.00 per person    Please note our training events are VAT exempt