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Agenda For Change

Agenda for Change is the name given to the new NHS national pay and grading system. It was introduced in 2004 to harmonise pay and terms and conditions for all NHS workers other than doctors. The system was negotiated by government health departments and UNISON, together with other health unions.

Information on Agenda for Change and Pay Scales in the NHS in Scotland can be found at the following links:




Staff Governance

In July 1999 guidance was issued from the Scottish Executive which set out new partnership arrangement arrangements which NHS Scotland employers were required to comply with. Enshrined in the NHS Reform (Scotland) Act 2004 is the Staff Governance Standard, which is the overarching policy for partnership working and employment practice and employee relations, setting out what each employer must achieve in relation to the fair and effective management of staff.

Current National Partnership Structures

There are two key bodies both representing partnership working at a national level, both are tri-partite, taking their membership from representatives of the Health and Wellbeing Directorate, NHSScotland Employers and Trade Unions, are co-chaired and have formal constitutions. These are:

Scottish Partnership Forum

The Scottish Partnership Forum (SPF) was set up in 1999 to support partnership working at a national level between staff, Trade Unions and NHS Scotland employers. Its agenda focuses on issues relating to services and patient care across the whole of NHS Scotland.


The Scottish Workforce and Governance Committee (SWAG) is a standing sub- Committee of the SPF, whose main function is to support the development of the workforce strategy. SWAG addresses workforce issues that require Scottish-wide solutions.

Negotiation of terms and conditions is taken forward separately through the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee.

UNISON Scotland is directly represented on all of these committees by both lay activists and full-time officials. Additionally, representatives of the trade unions and professional bodies with membership within the NHS in Scotland, meet regularly and also have direct meetings with the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

Further information on staff governance and terms and conditions for staff in the NHS in Scotland can be found at the following links:


  Page updated: 1 August 2009