Judges described the winner as an impressive partnership between health and local government that addressed both long and short-term recruitment issues. They praised the focus not just on healthcare but on community benefits, providing real opportunities for staff development and progression

Recruitment and Retention

Winner NHS TaysideHealthcareAcademy

NHS Tayside provides primary and secondary health care to 390,000 people spread over 3000 square miles of both urban and remote and rural environments. Its three local authorities -DundeeCity, Angus and Perth & Kinross – include areas of significant and multiple deprivation.

The NHS is the region's biggest employer and the Tayside Healthcare Academy (NHSTHCA) is part of a human resources and workforce development strategy for a sustainable locally responsive workforce.

The academy's objectives include employment opportunities for a wide variety of people who are unemployed or from excluded groups and shape its role in the inclusion and diversity agenda.

Social responsibility is seen in its partnership-based workforce development and planning that seeks to put people into work. Partners include Job Centre Plus, Scottish Enterprise, Careers Scotland and local further education colleges. Start-up funding came from the Scottish Executive Health Department

The academy was established in early 2006 and its first students arrived in August that year. Three programmes are available. A six-week pre-employment course provides statutory and mandatory training and helps students to understand the multi-disciplinary contribution to patient care.

Modern apprenticeships for electricians, fitters, plumbers and other trades have been taken up enthusiastically and a 20-week SVQ 2 level programme for school leavers began in Dundee recently.

A great deal of pastoral care is needed to support the transition to work. Success, however, is evident. In the academy’s first seven months 69 per cent of students had secured permanent employment with NHS Tayside.

NHS Tayside Healthcare Academy, contact debbie.donald@nhs.net

Highly CommendedMerseyCare NHS Trust

When service users and carers at Mersey Care talked about people with disabilities being disadvantaged in employment and how those with mental health problems and learning disabilities who wanted to work were more disadvantaged than most, the board took what they said seriously and decided to involve sevice users in all of the trust's work.

The aim was to help them overcome discrimination and prejudice, regain confidence and skills and get used to being back in the workplace.Merseycare puts great emphasis on the right of service users to employment and has created flexible opportunities to match peoples' circumstances.

There is a wide range of paid sessional opportunities. Service users and carers are trained and paid -£12 per hour plus expenses - to be involved in the recruitment, induction and training of all staff. They participate in incident reviews and even evaluate the performance of the chief executive and the executive team.

A partnership with social enterprise Green Apprentices is now working to "grow" 12 people with mental health needs into domestic, catering and portering roles. More than 20 service users have come off benefits.

The judges commended the originality of Mersey Care’s approach and its potential to share learning with other organisations.

Involving service users in trust work, contact Lindsey.dyer@merseycare.nhs.uk

Finalist Teaching Primary Care Trust forEast Lancashire

The PCTs of East Lancashire are in the bottom 10 per cent of PCTs for numbers of GPs per head of population. The tPCT was set up in 2002, as part of a national initiative to aid recruitment and retention in deprived areas with the general practice as a key priority.

A project manager has focused on supporting foundation year expansion into primary care and mental health to resolve the recruitment problem and a historical lack of training capacity.

In two years the tPCT has trebled the number of GP registrars and achieved 100 per cent primary care placements for foundation year 2 doctors.

Raising numbers of doctors in primary care, contact Kathryn Davies kathryn.davies@bwdpct.nhs.uk

Finalist RotherhamPCT

When five organisations merged in 2002 to form Rotherham PCT the staff turnover rate was at 13 pe cent. Achieving its stated purpose of improving the local population’s health and well-being was going to be a challenge, but one that could be met through a comprehensive and cohesive human resources development strategy.

By focusing on the goal of growing into an exemplar employer capable of developing and retaining a responsive workforce Rotherham became the first PCT to achieve Improving Working Lives Practice Plus, got best quality of work life balance status in the country in the 2006 staff survey and reduced turnover to 1.6 per cent.

Improving working lives project, contact peter.smith@rotherhampct.nhs.uk

Finalist NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

Part of the role of the NHS Institute is to build capability and develop leadership that stimulates high impact innovations and improvements.

One responsibility of the Building Leadership Capacity team is recruiting and developing future NHS leaders through the high-flyer graduate NHS Management Training Scheme.

A range of value for money best practice initiatives were introduced in 2007 to ensure that the scheme continued to recruit the best graduates, contributed to promoting and supporting a diverse workforce within the NHS and built knowledge and skills transferable to other areas of the service.

Graduate management training campaign, contact angela.antolini@institute.nhs.uk