Staff will be directly involved in assessing boards' performance as employers.

A partnership information network board will produce 'best practice' guidelines on people management which the NHS boards will have to implement.

All boards will be expected to meet or exceed best practice on family-friendly policies.

A new leadership development programme for staff will begin in 2001 and strategies on continuing education for all staff groups will be drawn up.

There is a pledge to increase the number of consultants by 600 in the next five years.