Provider bulletin: 30 March 2016

In this edition: agency spend, 2016/17 national tariff, provider inflation assumptions, quality reports, foundation trust self-certification, NEDs leadership development, CDI objectives, and standards for communicating diagnostic test results to patients.

This fortnightly newsletter is sent to NHS trust and foundation trust chairs, chief executives, finance, medical and nursing directors, and foundation trust board secretaries. 

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Agency spend updates ahead of 1 April

We’ve now published the complete rules for trusts and foundation trusts on agency expenditure which supersede all previous guidance. You should refer to this document for details on how to comply with the rules from 1 April 2016. It includes further information on:
  • an agency price cap reduction to 55% above basic pay rates from 1 April
  • the requirement to use approved frameworks for all agency procurement from 1 April
  • set expenditure ceilings on the total amount individual trusts can spend on agency staff from 1 April

Thank you for your continued efforts in driving down agency expenditure and ensuring staff move back into substantive roles. These rules are having a positive effect.

If you have any questions, please email

2016/17 national tariff takes effect 1 April

We’ve now published the 2016/17 national tariff, which comes into effect on 1 April 2016.

Monitor and NHS England considered all of the consultation responses before finalising the new set of prices and rules to help NHS providers and commissioners.

If you have questions on any aspect of the tariff, please email

Our latest assumptions for provider inflation

Please use our latest assumptions for provider inflation for the period 2016/17 to 2020/21 when undertaking planning and forecasting activities, while also taking account of local circumstances, opportunities and pressures.

Foundation trust quality reports

Requirements for quality reports 2015/16

Board secretaries and quality governance teams, in February we asked you to tell us what you think of our proposed content and assurance requirements for the 2015/16 foundation trust quality reports.

We’ve now reviewed your responses and have updated the detailed requirements to use when preparing your reports, as well as the guidance for you and your auditors to use when performing assurance work on the quality reports.

Results of 2014/15 assurance work

Each year auditors provide assurance on foundation trust quality reports; this work provides a view on data quality and the reporting against a number of defined national indicators.

The results of the 2014/15 assurance work allow foundation trusts to compare their performance and issues against the sector’s aggregate results. The findings may also be of interest to NHS trusts, although their data was not part of the assurance work.

Update to NHS foundation trust annual reporting manual 2015/16

Finance directors, please be aware we have published minor updates to the foundation trust annual reporting manual (FT ARM) for 2015/16.

Each year we publish the FT ARM which contains the requirements for how you should prepare your annual report and accounts.

Foundation trust self-certification

First deadline 31 May 2016

We’ve published two new templates to enable you to make your annual self-certifications. There are instructions within the template on how to submit them.

The submission dates for the templates are:

  • general condition 6 of the NHS provider licence is due by 31 May 2016
  • corporate governance statement, AHSCs and training of governors is due by 30 June 2016

Non-executive directors (NEDs): would you like to be involved in developing our new leadership development series?

Alongside NHS England, we’re developing a joint leadership development series for provider NEDs and clinical commissioning groups lay members to start in 2016/17 and we’d like to hear from NEDs on the topics that would be of interest to you. For example, we expect the first session to be on the role of NEDs in systems planning and transformation.

The leadership series is a follow-up to the 3 ‘NEDtalk’ seminars which NHS Improvement and NHS Providers hosted last year. In total, 66 NEDs attended these events with 12 NED speakers, and the majority of attendees gave really positive feedback.

If you have a suggestion or would be interested in presenting at an event, please email

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) objectives for acute trusts and CCGs

Patient Safety, which forms part of NHS Improvement from 1 April, has published the CDI objectives for 2016/17. The methodology for calculating these recognises the changing rate of CDI improvement and circumstances where the infection is caused outside of the hospital where it was identified. The methodology also encourages commissioners to consider sanctions for breach of CDI objectives only where there are lapses in care.

Communicating diagnostic test results to patients: standards for acute trusts and general practice

Patient Safety has developed a new set of standards for communicating diagnostic test results to patients and between primary, secondary and social care at the time of patient discharge. The standards will be of particular interest to medical directors, nursing directors, consultants and senior managers at acute trusts, and to general practitioners.

The standards, endorsed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, describe acceptable safe practice around how the test results should be communicated to patients, and between secondary care and primary and social care. This is part of a wider national patient safety programme around discharge to protect patients from potential harm caused by delays or errors in the communication of information between care providers.

Working with you to support improvement: an invitation to meet NHS Improvement staff

The stakeholder team at NHS Improvement is available to attend your team meetings from April onwards. They are keen to talk to operational level staff groups, including general and service managers, senior nurses and divisional directors, about our priorities at NHS Improvement and how we can best work with you.

As the new organisation develops, we’ll continue talking to the sector, ensuring that our relationships and alignment with the rest of the NHS are as coherent as possible.

We anticipate that there will be a range of issues you might want the team to talk directly to you about, for example how we can help support you and facilitate improvement in your organisation.

If you’d like representatives from NHS Improvement to attend one of your staff meetings, please contact Justine Moat, Stakeholder Engagement Officer,

Events and webinars

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