- New ways of working for our devolved nations team – what does this mean?
- Other changes to the way we work
- What does this mean for the number of staff working in Scotland?
- When will these changes take place?
- Will there be any reduction in expertise in the devolved policy, legislative and health service landscape in Scotland?
- Will we still work with the Scottish Paediatric Society and the Scottish Association of Community Child Health?
- How will RCPCH increase its footprint in the devolved nations in the future?
New ways of working for our devolved nations team – what does this mean?
As you may be aware, we’re making some changes to the way our staff work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, our devolved nations team – like staff across the whole organisation – have worked remotely. Initially, this was an emergency response to the first lockdown.
After several months of working from home, members of staff working in our devolved nations team and the College’s Senior Management Team agreed to move to this model for the longer term. The technology held up well and has enabled us to work effectively in this way, delivering guidance, advocacy work, member meetings and regular engagement with governments and other stakeholders online. The Scottish Government has said that organisations should make every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position.
When we emerge from the current COVID-19 pandemic we will need to develop new models with some meetings still happening on Microsoft Teams and others in local meeting rooms, as required.
Other changes to the way we work
We’re also updating some of the ways we work so that we can have greater impact in the devolved nations and, over time, increase and improve the service we can offer members in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The external demand on our teams in the nations has grown significantly. We have been active around high profile issues including re-opening schools, child protection, free school meals and providing information resources for parents who may be confused about accessing health services during this pandemic. As we build our profile and influence, we expect this trend to continue.
With finite capacity, it’s becoming more and more important that all of our teams and divisions renew their commitment to delivering for our members across the UK. The two members of staff in Edinburgh cannot provide every service, but by drawing upon the resources of the wider College (for example in supporting meetings, events or training) we can make sure that staff in Scotland prioritise those areas of work that only staff in Scotland can do. Therefore, some tasks previously facilitated by staff in Scotland will be delivered by colleagues elsewhere in the organisation. Work which will continue to be delivered by the Scottish team include responding to government consultations, supporting networking, running the Scottish Committee, meeting civil servants, meeting charities, liaison with colleges based in Scotland, etc.
What does this mean for the number of staff working in Scotland?
There is no impact on the number of staff working in Scotland – we’ll still have two full time equivalent roles based here, with greater support from colleagues elsewhere in the organisation. Having a strong staff presence in the nations is central to achieving that impact.
When will these changes take place?
Staff in Scotland have already been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and office will close in December. Changes in ways of working for staff will take place formally from January 2021 but we’re already working with teams across the College to consider how we can meet the needs of members in Scotland.
Will there be any reduction in expertise in the devolved policy, legislative and health service landscape in Scotland?
No, the aim is to increase this expertise and improve our response to devolved government, politics and health services. That will continue to be the major focus for our teams in the devolved nations. Growing this expertise and improving the ways in which we ensure this is fed into all of our outputs as a College is the challenge ahead and we’re working hard to build that into our ways of working across the organisation.
Will we still work with the Scottish Paediatric Society and the Scottish Association of Community Child Health?
Our staff in Scotland will continue to be on hand as a first point of contact between RCPCH and both the Scottish Paediatric Society and the Scottish Association of Community Child Health and we will continue to work with both groups. RCPCH has a separate agreement in place with the SPS and will continue to deliver this agreed work.
How will RCPCH increase its footprint in the devolved nations in the future?
For the first time, the College now has a commitment to increasing our reach into the devolved nations as a core objective. Across the College, teams are looking at what they need to do.
A number of changes have taken place in Education and Training structures, which offers scope for better coordination and information exchange between the E&T division and the Nations. There will be clearer opportunities for involvement of the National Officers in E&T activity, which will help guide priority setting and targeting of resources on agreed activities. Our Events team will be on hand to offer far more support and engagement than we’ve had previously. Our Workforce team are working ever closer with staff in the nations to produce nation-specific report and data – which our devolved nations staff are then able to use to advocate on behalf of paediatrics and paediatricians.
Our Policy, Research and Quality Improvement and Devolved Nations teams are working together on products to help parents and health services over what is likely to be a difficult winter. Our Engagement team continue to work with children and young people in all four of the UK’s nations to inform all our thinking and outputs and have protected, ring-fenced time for working in the three devolved nations.
These are just some examples of the kind of work we’re doing and the direction of travel. As we work towards our next College strategy, increasing our reach into the nations will be high on the agenda.