adviser responsible for leading the intervention and the lead management and tradeunion representatives. In some cases the Acas adviser was responsible for two cases,and in one of the cases there were two trade union informants. In addition to thenames of the key informants, the researchers were supplied with basic backgroundmaterial on each case. In each case, initial contact with interviewees was madethrough the Acas adviser, who facilitated the organisation of the research visits.The empirical approach was qualitative, based on a research protocol for datacollection that involved a standardised interview schedule (jointly designed by theresearchers and Acas Research and Evaluation Section), tailored to take account ofwhether the informant was an adviser, management representative or union
7representative. Management interviewees included Trust Human Resourcesmanagers and Chief Executive Officers. Trade union interviewees included branchsecretaries, staff-side chairs (lead union representatives, who may represent anumber of workplace unions) and full-time officers (FTOs) of the Royal College ofNursing (RCN) and Unison and Amicus trade unions. Typically, each interview lastedbetween 60 and 75 minutes, and all interviews were tape-recorded and subsequentlytranscribed. In total, 16 interviews were conducted across the five NHS casesbetween July and September 2004. An interview was also conducted with an Acasdeputy regional director, prior to the commencement of the case research, in orderto gain insights into the nature of Acas workplace project interventions.The report is structured into five further sections. The first of these considers thefactors underlying the approach to Acas and the reasons why Trusts approachedAcas as opposed to some other intermediate agent. The following section describesthe techniques and processes used by Acas advisers during workplace interventions,and participants’ views of these. Following this, immediate and long-termorganisational impacts of the workplace projects are considered. The next sectionprovides a general assessment of customers’ views of using Acas, and the finalsection presents a summary of key findings.2.FACTORS LEADING TO THE REQUEST FOR ACAS ASSISTANCE3In all of the Trusts, the request for assistance from Acas was precipitated by theimperatives for change that have been experienced in the NHS in recent years.Under the current Labour government the NHS has undergone a period of substantialtransformation, not only in terms of Human Resource (HR) strategy in the sector andits attendant emphasis on partnership working, but also in terms of theorganisational structure of health care.4Thus, in four of the five cases, the major impetus for approaching Acas derived fromthe merger process that had led to the formation of new organisational units. Forthree of the cases (Basildon, Craven and Harrogate and Wolverhampton) thisinvolved the creation of new Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), whilst the North
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- Spring '15
- Management, Trade union, National Health Service, acas, NHS trust, NHS primary care trust