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Will Integrated Care Systems impact the public sector talent pool?

by Adam Rouse | 2 July 2019

Integrated Care Systems have started to be rolled out across the country in a bid to streamline the way the NHS works, and deliver care to patients across the UK. In short, Integrated Care Systems plan to combine NHS commissioners, providers and local authorities, making them work more collaboratively to improve healthcare for the populations they serve.

It is hoped that by combining these services, the NHS on the whole will work more effectively, making the service quicker and more efficient. These changes will undoubtedly have an impact on the permanent and interim talent pool across the public sector, specifically back office areas. But what does that mean for candidates and NHS organisations in the short and long-term?

Short-term considerations

Short-term it is looking likely that services will run a ‘business as usual’ approach. There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the new systems, and I am confident that we will not see any huge changes until a more concrete plan is in place. However, I do think that organisations should consider taking on interim staff to assist with any changes that are coming in.

Interim staff can be used to help embed new ways of working, whilst keeping the day-to-day activities running, something I believe will be crucial when the transition to become an Integrated Care System starts. If the organisations involved do not invest in staff they may not have the support needed to ensure the transition goes smoothly. If I am correct and the demand for interim candidates increases, it is likely that organisations will be competing for the same talent as the market remains very much candidate-led at the minute. I would therefore advise that organisations seek out interim support early on to ensure they have a chance of securing the best candidates on the market.

Longer-term considerations

Longer-term I believe that these changes will have a hugely positive impact on the care patients receive across the country. Aligning these services, and building a more collaborative approach will only make our NHS stronger long-term. However, I do believe organisations and candidates working in this sector should start to prepare.

Whilst streamlining these services, it is likely that back office support roles will be reduced after the initial influx of interim workers I mentioned previously. For example, currently there may be four or five finance teams working within one geographical area. With a new Integrated Care System in place, there may only be a need for one slightly larger team, allowing the NHS to save costs and streamline this function. This could be problematic for many interim candidates that rely on work within the NHS. I would advise candidates in this area to look at widening their experience or to start considering permanent vacancies. By widening their public sector knowledge outside of the NHS, candidates could give themselves a much wider scope for securing new interim jobs. Failing that, now could be a good time to look at permanent vacancies, especially within organisations that are being integrated.

Progress and opportunities as a result of Integrated Care Systems

Integrated Care Systems have only been in operation for a year, but there are encouraging signs of progress, and I am confident they will improve the sector overall. Evidence shows that partner organisations and their leaders are working more collaboratively to manage performance and finances in a way that was not happening previously. If this progress is replicated across the country, Integrated Care back office roles, such as Management Accountants, will be highly sought after, and organisations that are demonstrating progress and are working efficiently will likely be at an advantage and be able to attract and retain the best candidates in the market.

The changes also present a huge opportunity for any interim or permanent candidates that are looking to strengthen their CV, so anyone that may want this exposure should consider looking at opportunities sooner rather than later.

Our advice moving forward

Whatever happens, organisations that are involved in the Integrated Care System changes need to ensure that they are communicating and working with their employees at every step. Change and uncertainty can be challenging to manage, especially if there is a likelihood that job roles may be impacted. It is therefore important for business leaders to be genuine, honest and listen to the wants and needs of the organisation as a whole. Organisations will not be able to achieve their goals if the staff are not performing, so as a priority organisations should open the lines of communication between management and employees, and talk openly and regularly about any concerns.

Finally, I would advise both candidates and NHS organisations not to worry. There is currently very little to indicate that the new Integrated Care Systems will have any negative impact, so until more is announced there is very little anyone can do. For now I would keep as up-to-date as possible with developments, consider speaking with a recruitment professional about the market and how the changes may impact it and ensure that employees at all levels are kept motivated and informed with what is going on.

We have a wealth of experience assisting candidates and businesses with situations similar to this. So if you are currently working for an organisation that may be impacted by the new Integrated Care Systems, or are a business leader and need advice on sourcing the right talent, feel free to get in touch.  

You can email me on adam.rouse@sellickpartnership.co.uk or you can call me directly by ringing 01332 542580.