Headlines: June 8th, 2005

A new body has been set up to represent National Health Service chief executives, directors and managers. The unprecedented new trade union organisation is a joint venture by the FDA – the senior public servants’ union – and UNISON.The new organisation – Managers in Partnership (MiP), has been created after four years of preparation. It will represent NHS staff who are often wrongly derided as ‘bureaucrats’ or dismissed as ‘waste’. The new union will seek to support and provide an influential policy voice to managers who, its creators say, face relentless pressures such as re-defined or under-defined roles, targets and ever greater personal accountability.

UNISON and the FDA say MiP will also allow managers to exert collective influence through working closely with government, the Department of Health, NHS Employers and other professional bodies.

MiP will be launched this week with more than 4,000 foundation members drawn from UNISON and the FDA but it expects to grow significantly. It will be independent from its parent unions and will be dedicated only to the interests of health service managers. The new organisation is not affiliated to any political organisation or party.

A survey of managers carried out to mark the launch, found that almost three quarters of managers thought their organisations faced major restructuring over the next two years. More than four in five felt ministers, the media and the general public did not understand the part they played in delivering change in the health service. More than half thought they lacked the right resources to do their jobs well.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentiss said the creation of the new body, which has been welcomed by NHS Employers, was a unique development in British trade union history. Jonathan Baume, General Secretary of the FDA added, “We wanted to build on the strengths of the two unions to create an organisation tailor-made for health service managers. With Unison’s reach and understanding of the NHS, and the FDA’s experience in representing senior managers and influencing policy, Managers in Partnership will offer members the services managers tell us they need.”