PHNS Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be updated to reflect your questions and concerns. Remember there is also a dedicated mailbox for you to use to raise any issues. Please email publichealthnursingtransition@devon.gov.uk.

  • Will my base change?

    There will be a staff location move from Newcourt House for the Beacon PHN Team, and 1 Eastern Cranbrook PHN staff members to the Ardis Centre and 1 Eastern Cranbrook PHN staff member moving to Ottery St Mary Hospital.

    The service transition will mean closer alignment to some of the services most closely linked with schools, education services, children’s centres and early years. We already work closely with our NHS partners to commission services such as CAMHS, and speech and language therapy.

    We want to work collaboratively with staff and leaders in Virgin Care Ltd to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of children and families in the community and build on the success already achieved, and work with staff and managers to design the best possible system for our communities.

    Does Devon County Council plan to bring children’s centres in-house?

    The children’s centre service has just been recommissioned for a further three to five years. The Council will use its strategic oversight to make sure that children’s centres work in an increasingly integrated way with the Public Health Nursing service. By 2021 we will be in a very good position to decide on next steps and further potential integration of children’s centres and Public Health Nursing.

    I have heard talk of system re-design – what does this mean?

    We believe that our purpose is to help every child in Devon get the best start in life and next year we want to build on our understanding about how our whole system currently works, from the perspective of the children and families who use it.

    Achieving the best start in life spans the delivery of a wide range of services, and it is vital that this system of services, including Public Health Nursing, works effectively with a common purpose to ensure outcomes are improved. We want to get the knowledge, data and understanding about what’s working well, what’s not working so well and, most importantly, are we doing what we are doing in the right way?

    Are you against the private sector if you haven’t let private companies bid to deliver the service?

    Devon County Council contracts with a wide range of private and public sector organisations and the most important thing is that we get good value for money and deliver a high quality service. Whether public, private, or in house that is the most important part.

  • Will my annual leave entitlement year change?

    Annual leave entitlement year will run from 1st April to 31 March.

    Will my pay date change?

    The pay date for staff transferring will be 25th of the month (or on the closest earlier working day if 25th of month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday).

    What is happening about lease cars?

    A proportion of staff transferring across have lease cars through Virgincare ltd. Devon County Council do not run a lease car scheme, so we will honour those current arrangements with transferring staff, however the scheme will not be continuing post transfer and as such new entrants, or extensions of agreements, will not be available post April 2019.

    Will Occupational Health Provision change?

    Your current Occupational Health Provision will change and be operated by Medigold from date of transfer. You will need to give permission, to allow for any transfer of information from your current Occupational Health provider if required.

    Will I get employee assistance and support from DCC?

    Devon County Council offers a 24/7 employee assistance and support scheme through Workplace Options. Details are available to transferring staff.

    Does DCC have a childcare voucher scheme?

    Computershare have confirmed that in TUPE situations, individuals who are currently in their employer’s childcare voucher scheme can transfer to Computershare when they TUPE in to DCC (as long as they have had a deduction within the last 12 months and subject to staff satisfying qualifying conditions.)

    New entrants will be able to join the Tax Free Childcare which will allow eligible parents to open online childcare accounts to make payments direct to their registered childcare providers.  Further information can be found at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and at www.gov.uk/get-tax-free-childcare.

     

    Will I still be a member of the Virgincare benefit schemes?

    Virgincare benefit schemes will cease on transfer (including Bonus Scheme, PMI, Cycle Scheme), however staff will have an opportunity to join Devon County Council schemes as appropriate and if eligible to do so. Details of benefit schemes are available to transferring staff and they include a Cycle Scheme, Devon Discounts and many more.

    We have heard some negative stories from colleagues who have moved into local authority delivered service.

    Like everything, there will be a range of experiences and we recognise that local authority delivery of Public Health Nursing is a relatively new development.

    There are also many good stories to tell and colleagues from Swindon and other in-sourced services would be happy to share their experiences.

    What will be in place to help NHS/Virgin Care Ltd employees understand local authority culture?

    It is great to have staff with experience across the two systems so we can share and learn from each other. At Devon County Council we will be looking at how best to adapt our culture to ensure it works for staff who are part of the NHS, and in turn for public health nursing staff to adapt to Devon County Council’s culture.

    We are also planning to hold a wider event to welcome staff to Devon County Council which will provide a further opportunity for staff transferring to Devon County Council to ask questions and hear from Members and staff about working for a local authority.

    And we are building on the experience gained when public health staff transferred from the NHS to Devon County Council in 2013, identifying what worked well, and where improvements could be made.

  • What will happen to Virgin Care policies?

    Non-contractual policies will not transfer and the relevant Devon County Council policy will be used from the transfer date. The only exception may be where at transfer, an employee has started a process within an existing policy.

    Will we continue to use the same IT systems?

    We are working closely with Virgin Care colleagues to fully understand the range of applications that you currently use to ensure, wherever possible, that you can continue to use the same IT systems.

    Will we still have access to NHS email alongside a Devon County Council/GCSX email address?

    Yes, it is intended that you will retain your NHS email as well as having a Devon County Council email account.

    GCSX has been phased out so all GCSX users have now migrated across to the new Devon County Council secure email service.

    Will we be using an iPad, or will we have an option for a laptop? What about my current iPad and iPhone?

    Various options are being explored to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible. We are currently looking at job roles and job requirements, and from this, identifying the device(s) which best suit each job role and your way of working post transition.

    I have special IT requirements due to my health. Will I be given the opportunity to talk to someone about this to ensure that from day one I am able to use the IT equipment I require?

    By capturing the detail around the way each of you work, we will also look to identify the need for any special IT required by individuals.

    Will we continue to use EDM and Total Mobile?

    That is the aim – we are working with Virgin Care colleagues to understand all the systems you currently use and the purpose of those systems.

    Will you be developing systems that talk directly to each other?

    Our primary focus is to ensure a smooth transition, a ‘lift and shift’ of systems. Development work will follow but it is our intention for IT systems to talk to each other and share data.

    All my files are currently on my profile of the hospital server site. Will I be able to continue using this?

    If these files are needed for your work, then it makes sense to migrate them into the Council’s file stores. This will be with the agreement of your respective Information Governance team.

    Will my mobile phone number change?

    We will need to explore whether mobile phone numbers can transfer across, or whether we should provide new ones.

    Will we have an intranet where all our forms are stored?

    This is likely to be on Sharepoint with a relevant site for Public Health Nursing.

    What will happen to individual lease car arrangements as a result of the transfer on the 1 April 2019?

    If your lease car scheme is due to expire after the 1 April 2019 then you will transfer across with your lease car and the contract that you have committed to. Payments will continue to be made from your salary for the period of the agreement. Currently Devon County Council does not run a lease car scheme for employees so at the point of the contract expiring there will not be an option to extend or agree a new contract for lease cars.

    Will my base change because of moving to the Council?

    If there is still landlord agreement at your current base then there will be no change at this current time.

  • Is it true that the budget for Public Health Nursing is being reduced?

    The Public Health grant reduction means the County Council has had to reduce the funding available to the Public Health Nursing service from this April (2018). We do not anticipate any further budget reductions for 2019/2020.

    We have been working with the current provider to review the service to ensure we minimise the impact of this reduction on children and families. This includes the use of better technology to support mobile working and the use of hubs.

    Health visitors and school nurses will continue to deliver the same services to children and families, as well as offering opportunities for more digital interaction.

    How will a local authority provide the clinical management needed for NHS staff?

    Devon County Council has a successful track record in transferring staff from NHS to the local authority when the Public Health function moved in 2013.

    We already have many staff, including clinical staff, who have experience of working and leading a PHN service who can provide reassurance, support and advice to staff joining the Council as part of this transfer.

    Adult social care is delivered by nurses, OTs and physios in frontline and management roles in integrated teams, all employed by the County Council.

    Around 14 local authorities provide their own Public Health Nursing service and Jo Olsson, Chief Officer for Children’s Services at the County Council, previously worked in Swindon and was responsible for the in-sourced Public Health Nursing service there.

    Children’s Services also intend to recruit a senior Public Health Nurse to lead the in-sourcing, ensuring all requirements of clinical governance, safeguarding, quality assurance, CQC registration and prescribing are fully realised.

    And we will work closely with Virgin Care Ltd to ensure there is a smooth transfer of staff who will continue to enjoy their NHS terms and conditions.

    What is the public health grant?

    The purpose of the grant is to provide local authorities in England with the funding required to discharge public health functions. From 2018-19 the grant received by local authorities from the Government has reduced.  As with other public health services commissioned by Public Health Devon, spend on the 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service needs to reduce in 2018-19 to enable the reductions in the public health grant to be managed.

    Public Health Devon has a budget of £10million per annum for the Public Health Nursing Service from April 2019.

    More information.

  • What will happen with admin support?

    A review of Public Health Nursing Business Support and current Bank staff through DCC temp solutions will take place post-transfer. No redundancies are proposed.

    Will there be any redundancies because of the transition?

    There will be no redundancies as a result of bringing the service in-house. Potential staff reductions associated with the budget reduction will be made in 2018 before the transfer of the service in April 2019.

    How will the County Council retain staff and build morale within the Public Health Nursing workforce?

    It’s important to understand that the Council’s decision to provide the service wasn’t a reaction to the current service or current provider. It was a positive decision about its own future direction and how Public Health Nursing can be part of that.

    We have listened to staff feedback and are responding to concerns about terms and conditions, clinical governance and protecting professional competencies. We are committed to making sure staff are happy, feel valued and are fully supported in their roles.

    While change can feel daunting and unsettling, this has the potential to be a huge professional and personal development opportunity – we don’t have a service blueprint and are committed to involving you in co-producing any system or service re-design.

    And we are mindful that in creating an opportunity to strengthen integration with education and social care, we don’t want to lose the strong and effective partnerships that have been built with other parts of health both in primary and secondary care.

  • Why did County Council elected members choose this option?

    Members spent around 18 months carefully exploring options, convening two Scrutiny Committee Spotlight Reviews and taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. Intelligence was also gathered from other parts of the system, formally and informally, and Members discussed options with communities.

    There were two public consultations and these responses were considered by Members before the final decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on 9 February 2018.

    By bringing the service in-house, it was agreed that we will have more opportunities to align it with other important services for children and young people, and review future options. Doing the best for families, children and young people is critical to this decision and this option best enables the service to work in a more integrated way with education and social care.

    What does ‘lift and shift’ mean?

    It’s crucial that through the transition phase of the service any disruption to staff and service users is kept to a minimum. The term ‘lift and shift’ supports this by ensuring the service is

    ready to continue as it is currently set up, but as part of Devon County Council from 1 April 2019. Wherever possible, we will not be looking to change job roles, locations or service structures through the transition process.

    Why is this happening now?

    The current contract, which started before Devon County Council took on responsibility for commissioning the Public Health Nursing service, comes to an end on 31 March 2019. The decision not to procure is no reflection on the current providers or any potential providers; it is an opportunity to ensure we respond well where families need a partnership or partnership plus approach without losing the much-valued universal aspects of Public Health Nursing, and to align the service to other children’s services provided by the Council.

    The consultation highlighted concerns and issues amongst Public Health Nursing staff – what is being done to respond to these?

    Devon County Council has taken all feedback into consideration and we will ensure that all the necessary measures are in place to protect staff terms and conditions, professional registration and to ensure a robust clinical governance framework is in place.

    How will the County Council ensure stability during the transition?

    We will be working closely with Virgin Care Limited to ensure a smooth and seamless transition, that the quality of the service is retained and that we build on the existing skills and expertise of the excellent workforce.

    How will a local authority provide the clinical management needed for NHS staff?

    Devon County Council has a successful track record in transferring staff from NHS to the local authority when the Public Health function moved in 2013.

    We already have many staff, including clinical staff, who have experience of working and leading a PHN service who can provide reassurance, support and advice to staff joining the Council as part of this transfer.

    Adult social care is delivered by nurses, OTs and physios in frontline and management roles in integrated teams, all employed by the County Council.

    Around 14 local authorities provide their own Public Health Nursing service and Jo Olsson, Chief Officer for Children’s Services at the County Council, previously worked in Swindon and was responsible for the in-sourced Public Health Nursing service there.

    Children’s Services also intend to recruit a senior Public Health Nurse to lead the in-sourcing, ensuring all requirements of clinical governance, safeguarding, quality assurance, CQC registration and prescribing are fully realised.

    And we will work closely with Virgin Care Ltd to ensure there is a smooth transfer of staff who will continue to enjoy their NHS terms and conditions.

    What on earth does ‘lift and shift’ mean?

    It’s crucial that through the transition phase of the service any disruption to staff and service users is kept to a minimum. The term ‘lift and shift’ supports this by ensuring the service is ready to continue as it is currently set up, but as part of Devon County Council from 1 April 2019. Wherever possible, we will not be looking to change job roles, locations or service structures through the transition process.

    How can I keep in touch with what’s going on with the transition?

    We are working closely with VCL to ensure you have every opportunity to engage with us during the transition. We have set up a dedicated mailbox for your questions or concerns, and developed this dedicated website too.

    We’ll be holding lots of face-to-face briefings over the coming months where you will get to meet key members of the Devon County Council team and some of our elected Members.

    If your question isn’t covered here, please email or if it’s about Virgin Care Ltd please speak to your line manager as you normally would.

  • Will my continuous service be recognised when I transfer to Devon County Council?

    Yes

    Will my holiday entitlement change upon transfer to DCC?

    No. You will transfer with your existing holiday entitlements as per your terms and conditions with Virgin Care. This includes entitlement to Bank Holidays, and Statutory Days.

    If I apply for a new role within Devon County Council post transfer, will I be able to maintain my existing terms and conditions?

    No, new roles will be appointed on Devon County Council terms and conditions. If you see a vacancy that you are interested in applying for then please speak to your manager who will assist you in understanding the changes.

    What will happen to my pension when I transfer?

    Please refer to your measures letter as part of the consultation from Virgin Care. This letter highlights the pensions arrangements depending on your current position.

    Will Devon County Council have details of my Special Class Status as part of my NHS Pension?

    We are working with Virgin Care’s HR and Payroll teams to ensure we gather this information. If upon transfer this information isn’t available then we will make contact with staff to ensure that your status is correctly in place where applicable.

    What will happen to my childcare vouchers upon transfer?

    Staff that are currently part of a salary sacrifice scheme for childcare vouchers will have that entitlement transferred with them. If staff wish to join the salary sacrifice scheme post transfer then they can do so as a DCC member of transfer.

    Can I keep my pension?

    Staff currently on NHS pension schemes should be able to retain their NHS pension (subject to NHS pensions final determination process). The process of application for NHS Pensions can take 3 months and we are escalating this due to the short time scales to reduce any impact on staff. Staff currently on teachers pensions will have their teachers pensions transferred. However, staff on Virgin Care pensions will no longer be able to continue their Virgin Care pension but will be automatically enrolled in the DCC pension scheme. Staff that are currently not in a pension scheme will automatically be enrolled within the LGPS. If they do not wish to enrol in the pension scheme they will have to opt out. You can find details of DCCs pension offer at https://www.peninsulapensions.org.uk/lgps-member/

    Can I continue with any trade union duties I have?

    We have an existing recognition agreement with trade unions with arrangements for existing full time officials and as required local union representatives to attend Joint Consultative Committees. Therefore the current Virgin Partnership Forum will cease within Devon County Council. Existing union representatives may continue to be local representatives as required and in accordance with relevant DCC policies or collective agreements regarding time off for trade union activities.

    What do I do regarding my expenses claims, including mileage, during March 2019?

    Mileage prior to 1 April 2019 will be paid by Virgin Care in April 2019. Please ensure all claims are made prior to transfer.

    Will my pay on Agenda for Change pay reflect the NHS pay deal post transfer?

    Yes, previously agreed pay consultations will be honoured under TUPE. Therefore staff on agenda for Change terms and conditions will continue to receive renumeration in line with the agreed pay agreement.