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Health and Safety Board Paper

Meeting Date:6 March 2002
Cancellation Date:
11 September 2002
Open Government Status:
Fully Open


The HSE Board

Developing the REFIT partnership

A Paper by Richard Lewis and Gary Austin
Adviser(s): Jean Kitchin
Cleared by Richard Hillier on 28/2/02


1 What the Board and the Senior Civil Service can do to help develop the REFIT partnership. Some suggestions will be presented at the Board.


2 ongoing


3 The Board is asked to note issues raised in this morning’s presentation and agree what what they and the SCS can do next.


4 The REFIT contract covers both the provision of both IT services and business consultancy. It is funded as a Private Finance Initiative deal, but requires more than being managed as a normal commercial relationship.

5 To get the best from this deal, a partnership approach is integral to the contract. It is expected that establishing a partnership:

i. will aid the achievement of HSE's business objectives;

ii. that it will be built on trust, openness and honesty;

iii. that it will achieve more by working together than either party could achieve on their own;

iv. that it will be a driving force for business change throughout the life of the partnership;

v. that it will ensure risk and reward are shared appropriately;

vi. and that it provides vision and leadership.

6 Lessons learned from other Departments and local authorities who have similar agreements indicate that these benefits do not come straight away, and need working at.1 The Partnership Steering Group (PSG), chaired by the Director General, is already sponsoring a project which will develop most of the supporting mechanisms for the partnership, and is working on:

i. the definition of the partnership; the values and principles of the partnership;

ii. the groups that make up the Partnership Forum;

iii. and the proposals for communications; skills development; and a framework for measuring the health of the partnership.

7 In the meantime, the PSG recognises the need to engage better and sooner with the HSE Board and the Senior Civil Service


8 In the early days of the REFIT service, there are examples of HSE and REFIT working together on business and IT requirements: support for scientific computing; supporting HSE businesses as they migrate from Lotus Smartsuite to Microsoft Office; and supporting the review of science and technology arrangements. These are described in information notes, which can be used to explain the range of activities supported under the REFIT contract.

9 Further engagement is required so that the Board and the SCS know what they can do to support and promote partnership, and benefit from it.

10 Initial communications have had a mixed reception. We need to go beyond the proselytizing, to a demonstration of what is achievable based on evidence. In this, the D/Ds have a role to play. While it is helpful to know what D/Ds are going to do to support the development of the partnership, it would be more helpful in the Board meeting to identify what else the Board and the SCS need to know to take plans forward.


11 The partnership Steering Group and the project user group have contributed ideas and concerns to the ‘Partnership in Action’ project.


12 The Board is asked to note issues raised in this morning’s presentation and agree what what they and the SCS can do next.

1 A discussion document is available from Jean Kitchin (523 3836). The Progress Paper for the Partnership Steering Group contains information about the project presented to PSG. It also includes the Partnership in Action - Implementing the Partnering Arrangements for REFIT: Project Action Plan and the draft balanced Partnership Scorecard which is also available.

Updated 2009-05-13