Find answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the NHS Staff Survey.
The answers provided on this page are also available to download in a PDF document below. If you can’t find the answer you are looking for, or need further information, please contact us.
General questions about the NHS Staff Survey
This section provides some general information about the NHS Staff Survey.
The NHS Staff Survey (NSS) describes how our NHS people experience their working lives. Its strength is in providing a national picture alongside local detail, enabling staff voices, providing the data organisations need to improve staff engagement and experience, and tracking progress towards achieving the People Promise. The annual NHS Staff Survey is one of the largest workforce surveys in the world. This is the 20th year of the NSS (it has been running every year since 2003).
NHS England own the Staff Survey. The Survey Coordination Centre at Picker Institute Europe (the current contractor) and the independent Staff Survey Advisory Group support them with the implementation. The anonymised data is an official statistic* that is publicly available.
*UK Statistics Authority defined official statistic as ‘produced by an organisation named by the Statistics and Regulation Service Action 2007 and described by that organisation as an official statistic or part of a set of official statistic’.
The NHS Staff Survey collects our NHS people’s views about working in their organisation. The results are used to improve local working conditions, and ultimately to improve patient care. The Survey is administered annually so views can be monitored over time. It also allows us to compare the experiences of our NHS people in similar organisations, and to compare the experiences of those in a particular organisation with the national picture.
All NHS trusts are required to participate in the NHS Staff Survey; commissioning support units, social enterprises, ICBs (Integrated Care Boards) and other NHS organisations are welcome to take part on a voluntary basis.
Only staff working at an organisation on the 1st September will be included in that year’s survey; those joining after this date cannot participate until the following year. A full list of the criteria for determining eligibility is outlined in the survey guidance available on the Survey documents page.
From 2023, NHS Trusts with at least 200 eligible in-house bank only workers will be required to extend the survey to those workers so that their voices can be heard. As a result, aggregated results for 2023 will be nationally representative and once established, year-on-year comparisons of national data will be available. It is strongly advised that any comparisons between organisations is made with caution as the profile of bank workforce may differ significantly between organisations in terms of the roles filled by bank workers.
The People Promise sets out, in the words of our NHS people, the things that would most improve the working experience for us all – like health and wellbeing support, opportunities to work flexibly, and to feel we all belong, whatever our background or our job.
The people best placed to provide information against the People Promise are our NHS People through the NHS Staff Survey.
This will be the second year that the NSS will report on the seven elements of the People Promise as well as two longstanding themes: staff engagement and morale. The tailored questions for bank only workers are also aligned to the People Promise.
Everyone’s answers will be used to better understand people’s perspectives when it comes to working for the NHS and where more change is needed.
The questionnaire developed for NHS Staff Survey, or any subset of questions from the questionnaire, may be used only with express permission of NHS England. This permission will usually be granted, provided that:
a) The source is quoted; and
b) The questions are not used for commercial benefit
Anyone wishing to use the NHS Staff Survey questionnaire for purposes other than the delivery of the national NHS Staff Survey should contact the Survey Coordination Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I manage the survey?
The responses in this section aim to help you to manage the Survey for your organisation and clarify who is entitled to complete it.
The fieldwork for the NHS Staff Survey is carried out during the autumn with results published in the early Spring of the following year. This ensures the results remain comparable and avoids the summer and winter periods when the NHS is historically at its busiest.
The questionnaire is distributed in the Autumn. The precise date will vary between organisations. You should contact the Staff Survey lead in your organisation if you wish to confirm the exact date.
For more information on the key stages involved in delivering the survey, please take a look at the Staff Survey timeline on the FutureNHS and the guidance for organisations document available on the Survey documents page.
It closes towards the end of November.
For more information on the exact dates, please take a look at the survey guidance available on the Survey documents page.
To ensure all staff responses remain confidential, all participating organisations must employ an independent survey contractor to administer the survey. NHS staff complete and return their questionnaires directly to the independent contractor, which means that no one at your organisation will be able to see how an individual member of staff responds. Survey contractors will treat your completed questionnaires in strict confidence, according to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
In many organisations, the independent survey contractors also conduct the sampling, questionnaire distribution and presentation of findings.
The following contractors ran the Survey in 2022 on behalf of participating organisations.
IQVIA: email@example.com or 01246 858 857
Picker: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01865 208140
The NHS Staff Survey Approved Contractors Framework expired in June 2019 and has not been replaced. The market position has moved on since when NHSE provided a framework. There are now multiple framework options that trusts could use to procure these services.
It is now very difficult to set up separate frameworks where there are national ones for the same purpose in place.
NHSE procurement have provided the information below.
There are a few framework options available that can be used system wide. They are set up with an approved list of suppliers and have already been through open procurement so only require a call-off contract. As frameworks, they have their own pre-agreed sets of Terms and Conditions to use when accessing the agreements.
• The HSSF agreement provides the NHS and its partners with access to an extensive network of accredited third-party suppliers with expertise in essential support services across a range of areas including provision of support for surveys. Details of the framework are here: NHS England » Scope of Framework with the suppliers available here: NHS England » Accredited supplier lists.
Where the value of spend is low (typically under £100k) it is often preferred to seek quotes outside of any framework via Contracts Finder. This means any supplier can bid and you aren’t limited to the suppliers on that frameworks. Local procurement teams should be able to support with the best route to market and local changes in local finance regulations (SFI’s).
The questionnaire and other survey documents are available to view on the Survey documents page of the Survey Coordination Centre website.
The NHS Staff Survey is a census survey, so all eligible staff and eligible bank only workers will be invited to participate.
Yes. In order to improve access to the survey, all eligible staff are offered the option to complete it online. For those receiving a paper questionnaire, a link to the online survey with a personalised login and QR code is provided so that staff can immediately access and complete the survey online if they would like to. The survey for bank only workers will not have a paper option and will be online only.
Fixed term contract staff
Staff on secondment between NHS organisations
Sickness leave (for staff who are absent for less than 12 months)
Eligible Bank only workers
Paid in the last six months (up to 1 September) for work or training by NHS organisation directly; and do not have a substantive contract with the same organisation
Ineligible Bank only workers
Paid by an external company e.g. NHS Professionals, Bank Partners or agency
Staff on honorary contracts are not eligible to participate in the survey. Extension of the eligibility criteria to honorary contracts is not practicable as staff do not hold a contract with the participating organisation. There are implications on the capacity and capability of organisations to generate Staff Lists through ESR (the system used by organisations to draw the staff list).
Please note that organisations can choose to survey colleagues that do not meet the eligibility criteria for their local results only. Organisations should speak to their contractors if they wish to do this.
They should answer the questions in relation to the job they are currently working in.
If they are new to the organisation, they should answer the questions as best they can in relation to their current job within the organisation.
However, if their organisation is new as a result of a recent merger, and they were employed by one of the previously separate organisations, they should answer the questions in relation to their time spent working at this new organisation and its predecessors.
All organisations are required to have a mandatory minimum fieldwork period of eight weeks. However, it is strongly recommended that a longer fieldwork period is used, to increase response rates, representativeness, and comparability. Any organisations that believe they may struggle to meet the mandatory minimum fieldwork period should contact the Survey Coordination Centre as soon as possible.
The legal basis for processing personal data for NHS Staff Survey purposes is “for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller” (Article 6(1)(e)).
Organisations undertaking the NHS Staff Survey as part of the NHS Standard Contract are therefore ‘exercising official authority’ in doing so.
The intention is to encourage and enable all eligible NHS people to take part; however, evidence shows that there is not a definitive threshold level that determines a ‘good’ response rate.
Therefore, higher response rates cannot automatically be assumed to imply more representative data – or a more engaged workforce. They should not be viewed as a survey outcome in and of themselves and NHS organisations should be cautious about focusing too heavily on response rates – particularly if this is at the expense of a focus on outcomes that are more important to staff, such as their self-reported engagement, morale, and working experiences.
More information on response rates can be found on the Staff Survey documents page.
Communication about the survey to your staff and stakeholders
The FAQs in this section aim to help you in your communications:
The more our NHS people know their organisations are listening to them and acting on their feedback, the better the outcomes for us and our patients. A lot of good work is going on but there is always room to do more and make it the best for all of us, regardless of where we work. After the unique demands of the last few years, it is more important than ever that our NHS people can share their views on their working experience and how it can be improved.
The NHS Staff Survey is a rich source of data to support understanding our NHS people’s working experiences. You only take part once year, but the results are used many times. The data is well used by a wide range of organisations and teams, including HRDs and subject matter experts in the local NHS, NHS England (such as temporary staffing, retention), and equality and health inequalities teams, staff experience leads, CQC, staff networks, Workforce Race Equality Standard, Workforce Disability Equality Standard, Freedom To Speak Up and National Guardians Office, Social Partnership Forum, and the Pay Review Body.
It is important that our NHS people from all backgrounds and experiences take part as we each have a voice that counts.
The Staff Survey Coordination Centre has more guidance and assets to help you encourage your staff to take part in the Survey.
There is a communications toolkit to support organisations in promoting the survey through internal communications and engagement channels.
Building on positive feedback, the assets are regularly reviewed, and new supporting documents introduced. These include some aimed at bank only workers.
All of the assets detailed below are hosted on the Staff Survey documents page. Some are more suitable to those working on site and others for digital/online settings. Please use them alongside the supporting documents on this website, including Frequently Asked Questions.
There is also a set of non-Survey related visual assets illustrating the seven elements of the People Promise on the Employee Experience and Engagement FutureNHS workspace.
If you have any queries, please get in touch with the NHSE Staff Experience and Engagement team at email@example.com.
Posters: NHS Staff Survey promotion “Did you know…”
A3 and A4 options, some with space for your own messaging/call to action or QR code.
Social media cards
A set of cards with different messages and in contrasting designs, including some with space for your own messaging
To use as screen saver, Teams backdrop or on digital screens.
Short film addressing some of the misconceptions about the staff survey
Myth busting table
More detail to counter the misconceptions our research has found some NHS people have.
Bank only worker assets
A3 and A4 posters, digital screen, email signature, and social media cards.
Research has shown that giving a member of staff the opportunity to complete their questionnaire in the workplace during work time can boost response rates. It is the responsibility of the organisation to inform their staff whether or not this is acceptable. It is highly recommended that staff are given allocated time to complete the survey working their working hours.
We strongly recommend organisations support all staff, including those who may struggle with written English or for whom English is not their first language, to complete the survey. This gives every member of staff equal opportunity to have their voice heard. For example, organisations may have champions or volunteers available to help staff understand and answer the questions, and line managers are encouraged to ensure that those who may need more time to answer the survey are given the time they need within their allocated working hours.
Participation is not compulsory, but our NHS people are strongly encouraged to use the opportunity to give their opinions and views about the organisation in which they work by completing the questionnaire. This gives each member of staff equal opportunity to have their voice heard.
It is important that as many people as possible complete the questionnaire to get a wide and representative understanding of the voice of our NHS People.
Yes. You will submit your response, or post your questionnaire, directly to the independent survey contractor appointed by the organisation. The organisation does not have access to the responses/questionnaires or to any personal data (including names and addresses). The report that is sent back to the organisation presents the survey findings in summary form and does not reveal the identity of the staff surveyed.
The NHS Staff Survey is run independently and is done to the highest standards of quality and accuracy.
Some may query the fact that the questionnaire they receive includes a personalised log in or ID number. Independent survey contractors use these to ensure that reminder emails or letters are only sent to staff who have not already completed the survey and to tell them information such as the NHS trust/organisation/directorate that the person works at. This means that NHS organisations can receive reporting for a particular staff group, directorates, and departments which is essential for planning and implementing improvements. The report that is sent back to the organisation presents the Survey findings in summary form and does not reveal the identity of anyone who took part. To ensure anonymity, results are not provided for any group with 9 or fewer responses.
The contractors use the personalised login/ID numbers to ensure that reminder emails or letters are only sent to staff who have not already completed the survey.
The personalised login/ID numbers are to ensure each respondent can only respond once to give as accurate a picture of staff experience as possible.
As staff return/submit their completed questionnaires directly to their organisation’s external contractor; there is no way that anyone in an NHS trust/organisation will be able to link a respondent’s data with a particular ID number or individual.
Organisations will only receive reports of the summary survey findings. If a paper questionnaire is returned with the ID number obscured or removed, data cannot be included in the survey findings as, without the ID number, it is not possible to assign data to the correct NHS trust/organisation.
The NHS Staff Survey is mobile friendly but is not available as an app.
There are a number of differences; the key ones are:
· The NHS Staff Survey provides a detailed picture of staff experience, to a greater level of granularity to other surveys, across the country annually and supports long-term actions. It is an official statistic, with a robust and evidence-based set of questions*.
· The National Quarterly Pulse Survey complements the NHS Staff Survey data on a quarterly basis. It provides regular and consistent insight into engagement, using the nine engagement questions which are also part of the annual national NHS Staff Survey.
· The monthly People Pulse is a more frequent survey which provides a snapshot information with almost immediate results to support actions for improvement, recognise trends and adjust existing plans.
All three surveys provide a view of staff experience at local, regional and national level. For more information on employee listening tools please take a look at our ‘Employee listening channels’ page on FutureNHS.
*Please note that the bank only element of the NHS Staff Survey and will not be classified as an official statistic.
The Staff Survey questions have been developed to ensure sound understanding of working experience via robust and validated questions and indexes. There is a gold standard approach to developing the questions. This includes identifying high quality questions used in other surveys wherever possible, extensive engagement with experts and stakeholders, and testing with staff from many different backgrounds and roles.
For more information, take a look at this video from Professor Jeremy Dawson on FutureNHS.
A key changes document is created each year to enable organisations to see the changes. This document is available via the Staff Survey documents page on the Staff Survey Coordination website.
How do I use the survey results?
This section provides information on results to support your understanding of the process and results.
The final publication date is confirmed at least four weeks before publication. At that point we must be confident that all the data will be ready by this date and that there are no errors, in order to comply with official statistics requirements. This is quite challenging with the size of the survey and number of reporting outputs.
The NHS Staff Survey team have developed a reporting and quality assurance infographic which provides useful information on why, as an official statistic, it takes time to publish the NHS Staff Survey results
The NHS Staff Survey does take time to produce due to its purpose, granularity and intricacy of the data as well as the outputs that are require. The ‘what happens next’ document provides explanation on the publication timescales.
The NHS Staff Survey results are used throughout the year to understand and measure the working experiences of our NHS people. They should also be considered alongside insights from other listening tools and exercises to support a culture of continuous improvement. Actions can be taken, and decisions can be made before, and during, the early release of results under embargo.
The National Quarterly Pulse Survey and national monthly People Pulse survey provide faster results where these are needed, and other forms of feedback can also be collected to evaluate interventions.
The questionnaires are collected and checked by each organisation’s independent contractors and then sent to the Survey Coordination Centre. The Survey Coordination Centre is then able to provide organisations with data to compare their performance with other organisations of a similar type and also produce national statistics for NHS England.
The data are stored in accordance with the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, and follows the principles of the NHS Confidentiality Code of Practice. The survey responses are returned directly to the independent survey contractor who compile data files for submission to the Survey Coordination Centre.
After the survey is completed, these data files are sent to the Survey Coordination Centre where they are collated and stored in secure files only accessible to the researchers conducting data analysis. The information does not include details of the names of staff who completed the survey.
Survey contractors will store paper copies of the completed questionnaires until February when the Survey Coordination Centre conducts data checks. Once this process is complete, the contractors securely dispose of the paper copies of the questionnaires.
The benchmark reports for each participating organisation can be found in the local results section on the Survey Coordination Centre website.
The criteria for assignment to benchmarking group depends on the service provided, these are outlined below:
· Ambulance Trusts – includes the eleven regional Ambulance Trusts
· Acute Specialist Trusts – those which meet both the following criteria:
o Offer services only to a certain population (e.g. women or children) or for a specific clinical condition (e.g. cancer, cardiothoracic)
o Do not have a type 1 A&E (although they may offer a limited emergency service related to the condition they specialise in)
· Acute and Acute & Community – includes all other trusts which offer acute services
· Mental Health/Learning Disability and Mental Health/Learning Disability & Community – includes trusts which do not offer acute services but offer mental health and/or learning disability services
· Community Trusts – includes trusts which offer community services but neither MH/LD nor acute services
These definitions determine benchmark group membership objectively and are consistent every year to ensure comparisons can be made.
Participating organisations usually receive their local benchmark report in February. The Survey Coordination Centre will provide each organisation with reports of core survey responses appropriately benchmarked against national data. Some organisations may wish to commission an earlier organisation-level report from their survey contractors in order to work with results internally, for example in developing action plans. Please note, the results for bank only workers will not be included with the benchmark reports.
Please also note that the benchmark reports produced by the Survey Coordination Centre are benchmarked against other organisations of a similar type – accordingly, in order to make fair comparisons between organisations in the benchmark reports, the data from each organisation will be weighted so that the occupational group profile of that organisation reflects that of a typical organisation of its type. This means that it is possible that results given in the benchmark reports produced by the Coordination Centre could differ slightly from those given in any reports produced by survey contractors.
The directorate/breakdown reports we produce are subject to an organisation’s contractor submitting its directorate information to the Survey Coordination Centre. If you are unable to find such a report for your organisation but think that this information should be there, it is worth speaking with your contractor as they would be in a better position to explain this to you.
There are two main reasons why some directorates may be missing from the report. First, where a group has fewer than 10 responses, results are suppressed in order to protect staff confidentiality and it is therefore not possible to show this data. The second reason why certain directorates may be missing is because this information has not been provided to us by the contractor.
The data in the benchmark reports are weighted based on the current year staff profile. The main reason that this is done is to allow for fair comparisons to the benchmark scores. The data in the directorate/ breakdown reports, on the other hand is unweighted data as there are not any benchmark comparison; this would explain the discrepancy across those reports. More information on weighting can be found in the technical document available in the survey documents section of the Survey Coordination Centre website.
You can find detail on how the scores are calculated in the technical document. The scores are calculated using case level data so it is not possible for you to do the calculation and get the same values because the data that are published are aggregated. This document is available via the Staff Survey documents page on the Staff Survey Coordination website.
Rounding is one factor that can impact why figures that look the same to 1 decimal place (dp) may be significant while those that look different to 1dp are sometimes not significant. Each score is rounded to 1dp which means that figures can appear more similar or more different than they are.
For example, a change in change from 8.34 to 8.15 does not necessarily represent a change of 0.2. Due to rounding the difference may actually be:
8.349 to 8.051 (a difference of 0.298) or 8.251 to 8.149 (a difference of 0.102)
The statistical test applied uses the actual, rather than the rounded results. The test also considers the sample size (larger sample sizes are more likely to result in changes being statistically significant) and the actual values (a 0.1 movement on a very high or low score is more significant than a similar movement on a mid-range score).
The results of the significance testing are provided as a guide to help data users see where there may have been ‘real’ changes in the scores year on year, and where changes are too small to be statistically significant. But we always advise that these tests are used for guidance only and that actions are based on the comparison with benchmark scores, the longer-term trends, and the context in which the survey took place.
We do not produce an output of this nature as we advise against grouping all organisations in the same way to find the overall top and bottom. Instead, we categorise the results into benchmark groups for organisations to see how they compare to similar organisations, and we would always advise comparing results in this way.
You can download the dataset which feeds into the benchmark reports from the local results section of this website. The data is in Excel format and shows the results for each organisation grouped into the different benchmark groups, so you can see who is performing best and worst on the different questions and themes.
Recommendation would be to use the detailed spreadsheet available via the Staff Survey results page on the Staff Survey Coordination website for comparisons between organisations.
There are several measures of averages that can be used such as mean, median and mode.
On the national dashboards, the average used is the (arithmetic) mean of all respondents within a particular organisation type (with weighting). The mean of all the responses of all people within acute trusts is taken to create the score for the acute trusts. This score is comparable between organisation types – i.e. the acute trust score is directly comparable to the score for community trusts on the national dashboards.
In the benchmark reports, we calculate the arithmetic mean of all respondents within a particular organisation – the organisation’s score (with weighting). The median in the benchmark reports is then the median of those organisational arithmetic means. The median is the appropriate measure here, as it allows organisations within an organisation type to compare themselves to each other, and accounts for outliers (extremely low or high scores) as exactly 50 per cent of the values are above and below the median, whereas a mean score can be skewed by those outliers.
If you want to compare acute trusts with other types of organisation, the national dashboards are preferred (mean); whereas if you are wanting to compare an organisation to other organisations of the same type the benchmark values (medians) are preferred.
Results from NHS Staff Survey and NQPS will not be directly comparable, due to factors including methodological differences, the response rate and possible seasonal effects. The purpose of the NHS Staff Survey is to provide official statistical data of staff experience across all provider organisations, allowing organisations to track progress over time and compare their results against national and local benchmarks to a granular level of detail. The NQPS provides a view of staff engagement in provider organisations on a quarterly basis. Methodological differences between NHS Staff Survey and NQPS include the sampling strategy (the NHS Staff Survey has a robust sampling strategy aligned to ESR data), and the use of weighting to increase the quality and comparability of the data (NHS Staff Survey results are weighted while NQPS results are not).
Organisations can ask their contractors about this. Contracts do provide early access to results (i.e. aggregated data) this could be as soon as two weeks after the close of the fieldwork period. Also, contractors often provide bespoke reporting outputs before the national data is published by the Survey Coordination Centre.
The NHS Staff Survey is an official statistic and the survey results must not be made public prior to the national publication date. To allow organisations that participate in the survey to make the best use of their survey results for action planning, these organisations are granted early (pre-release) access to their own results so they can receive and start to use their results ahead of the official publication date. The term ‘embargo’ means that organisations can use their own results internally, but that these results cannot be shared before they are published by the Staff Survey Coordination Centre and NHS England.
The embargo guidance provides more information on what can be done during the embargo period.
NHS Staff Survey for bank only workers
This section provides more information about the NHS Staff Survey for bank only workers.
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff) and Bank only workers: A single staff list is provided that includes substantive staff and bank only workers.
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff) and Bank only workers: The fieldwork for the main NHS Staff Survey and bank only workers will be same (during the autumn).
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff): Staff are sent an email with a link to the survey or a paper survey.
Bank only workers: Bank only workers are sent an email with a link to the survey or a paper invitation with a QR link to the online survey. Optionally they can also be sent survey notifications by text.
NHS Staff Survey questions
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff): The survey questions are aligned to the People Promise.
Bank only workers: The survey questions are aligned to the People Promise. The questions are tailored to ensure they are appropriate for bank only workers.
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff): There is an established suite of reporting outcomes for substantive staff including a national report, organisational reports and interactive dashboards. Data is also available at a system and regional level.
Bank only workers: The bank only results will be weighted by occupational group and eligible population size for the national reporting of the bank results. Suite of reporting outcomes including a national briefing, organisational reports, and detailed spreadsheet.
Using the results
NHS Staff Survey (substantive staff): The data will be used by a wide range of organisations and teams, including HRDs and subject matter experts in NHS trusts and the People Directorate (such as temporary staffing, retention, WRES and WDES)
Bank only workers: The results will be used to provide a national and organisations-level picture of the experience of bank only workers for temporary staffing teams and WRES/WDES.
The tailored questions for bank only workers are available via the Staff Survey documents page on the Staff Survey Coordination website.
The People Promise applies to all our NHS people. Supporting our bank only workforce to take part in the NHS Staff Survey is critical to ensuring that we each have a voice that counts.
The inclusion of bank only workers in the NHS Staff Survey will help to improve the working experience of bank only workers and will help influence positive changes that will ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes.
The results can be used by organisations to help with workforce planning and reducing agency spend. They can also provide more evidence around the journey that some of our NHS people can take between substantive roles, bank only roles and agency work.
Previous research suggests that bank only workers are disproportionately likely to come from ethnic minority backgrounds. Increasing the eligibility of the NHS Staff Survey will further increase understanding of the inequalities of experience and promote a compassionate and inclusive culture.
NHS Trusts with at least 200 eligible in-house bank only workers will be required to extend the survey to those workers so that their voices can be heard.
Organisations and collaboratives have been asked to provide the details of their active bank only workers as part of the usual staff list they supply to their contractor. Bank only workers will be able to take part in an online survey that is closely aligned to the NHS Staff Survey while still reflecting the experiences of this specific sector of the workforce.
Organisations have chosen how they would like bank only workers to be invited and reminded about the survey. This could be via email, or a paper invitation with a QR code providing a unique link to the online survey. There is also an option of people being sent a text reminder with a link to the survey. No paper questionnaire is offered.
Full details are available as part of the survey guidance on the Staff Survey documents page.
The development of a tailored questionnaire and agreed approach is described below:
· For many years both bank only workers and organisations have queried why bank only workers could not be fully included in the NHS Staff Survey.
· Bank only workers were involved in the cognitive testing for the NHS Staff Survey in 2021. The interviews revealed that a tailored version of the questionnaire would be needed to best reflect their experiences at work.
· NHS England engaged with NHS organisations who had conducted previous research with bank only workers to learn from their experiences.
· A working group was developed including academic advisors, Survey Co-ordination Centre, staff side (trade unions), temporary staffing and WRES colleagues, trusts with experience of bank surveys, and regional staff experience and engagement leads. The group reviewed the questionnaire to ensure it was suitable for bank only workers and identified the best approach for managing and rolling out the survey.
· A survey of staff survey engagement leads was used to understand how best to manage the survey.
· Further engagement took place with the Staff Survey Advisory Group which included stakeholders from additional groups such as CQC, Freedom to Speak Up and NHS Employers.
· Bank only workers were involved in cognitively testing.
All the engagement with stakeholders and feedback from cognitive testing indicated that the questionnaire for bank only workers should be tailored. Certain questions in the survey were not suitable for bank only workers, others were adapted, and some new questions were introduced to account for area of experience exclusive to bank only workers.
Discuss your organisation’s participation with your internal stakeholders (such as your temporary staffing, ESR and comms colleagues) to determine the best ways of inviting your bank only workers to participate.
New assets are added to the comms toolkit and are available on the Staff Survey documents page, including some suggested text for use with bank only workers and templates you can adapt for local messaging. Existing ones have l also been updated.
There is no paper version of the survey available as most bank only workers utilise their shift working arrangements digitally, and an online only approach provides benefits such as allowing easier navigation of questions, value for money (particularly for organisations with a smaller number of bank only workers), and reducing the use of paper.
Personal email addresses, home postal addresses and personal mobile phone numbers can be used so long as they are up to date and have been provided by the bank only worker for work purposes. In these circumstances, specific consent for the use of personal contact details for the survey is not required.
In this situation, the individual will be sent two surveys, one from their ‘substantive trust’ and one from their ‘bank only trust’. This way, the individual can provide feedback for every organisation that they are actively working for or can choose which organisation(s) to feed back on.
The feedback we have received suggests that in some areas it is rare for bank only workers to work in more than one organisation but in other areas this is much more common.
• We are mitigating the risk that respondents may get confused after receiving more than one survey by providing contractors with additional wording that they can include on survey invitations if they wish to.
• We understand that organisations may be concerned that this could affect response rates. Higher response rates are less important than providing bank only workers with the chance to feedback on all the organisations they have worked in. Response rates for bank only workers will be kept separate from the main survey and we will continue to emphasise that they only provide information about the survey – they are not findings in themselves.
As it is a new survey. The results of the NHS Staff survey for bank only workers are not currently an *official statistic.
*UK Statistics Authority defined official statistic as ‘produced by an organisation named by the Statistics and Regulation Service Action 2007 and described by that organisation as an official statistic or part of a set of official statistic’.
Comparisons between bank only and staff with substantive and fixed term contracts will need to take account of the different roles that staff might have, the circumstances of the people taking part, and any differences in how questions are worded.
For example, a mental health trust employs a number of bank only nurses to ensure there are enough nurses to meet the demand at all times of day. The board at the trust asks to see the results for bank only nurses compared to nurses who have a substantial contract. When looking at the results, they consider the fact that bank only workers often work different shifts patterns which place different demands on staff. They also take account of any differences in the question wording.
Any comparisons between organisations, ICSs, regions and the national results will need to be made with caution as the make-up of banks differs by organisation.
While in the main survey, weighting is applied to account for differences in the occupation group profile between organisations and render comparisons more reliable, similar weighting cannot be applied to the bank data, due to greater variability within the data and smaller base sizes. Organisation-level results for the bank worker survey are therefore presented unweighted.
Where trust results are aggregated for the national reporting of the bank results, the data are weighted to ensure trust results have an impact according to the number of eligible bank workers working at each trust.