& Business Plan 2008–2009
The Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC) aims to
improve the quality of health and care by supporting the practice,
education and performance of nurses and midwives.
1.1. Following the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly in May 2007,
Mr Michael McGimpsey MLA was appointed Minister to the Department of Health
and Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The Department’s role is to improve
the health and social well-being of the people of Northern Ireland by ensuring the
provision of appropriate health and social care services.
1.2. The Review of Public Administration was a comprehensive examination of the
arrangements for the administration and delivery of public services in Northern
Ireland. It covered over 150 bodies, including the 26 district councils, the Health and
Social Services Boards and Trusts, the five Education and Library Boards and about
100 other public bodies. It reached a conclusion in March 2006 and was launched by
the Northern Ireland Executive in June 2002. Implementation is being taken forward
by the relevant government departments. The DHSSPS has been involved in
implementing the initial changes across the health and social care sector over the last
three years. This has meant that this sector has gone through major structural
reorganisation in the same period.
1.3. In April 2007 eighteen HPSS Trusts were collapsed into five new Health and Social
Care (HSC) Trusts. This created wide-ranging challenges and afforded new
opportunities. Key to nursing and midwifery are the recognition of the Nurse
Executive Director role in all five Trusts and the focus given to cross-cutting agenda
areas such as learning and development, workforce development, increased
evidenced-based practice and improved governance. Changes to the Boards and
Agencies1 await further ministerial decisions.
1.4. The health and social care sector continues to meet an extensive reform,
modernisation and efficiency agenda addressing the two priority areas of investing
for health and modernising hospital and associated primary and community care
services. Nurse and midwife contributions are vital to the successful and sustained
delivery of these improvements.
1.5. The health and social care sector provides services to the population across
Northern Ireland, and nurse and midwife registrants constitute by far the largest
direct care workforce. In the wider independent and voluntary sector nurse
registrants also provide the largest volume of direct care. Ensuring that nurse and
midwife registrants provide safe, effective and high-quality care to their clients and
patients in whichever setting is a significant and ongoing challenge.
1.6. The Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council for nursing and midwifery
(NIPEC) was established by the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2002 (see Annex 1
for relevant legislation) to support the development of nurses and midwives by
promoting high standards of practice, education and professional development.
NIPEC also provides advice and guidance on best practice and matters relating to
nursing and midwifery. This Corporate Strategy and Business Plan represents
NIPEC’s strategic direction from April 2008 to March 2009 within the policy and
change context outlined above.
1 NIPEC was constituted as a Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) but for ease of reference is usually referred to within the
collective term of Agencies. 1
2. Corporate Strategy
2.1. NIPEC established and has achieved all of the corporate priorities outlined in the
previous corporate strategy periods 2002-05 and 2005-08. The Review of Public
Administration announcements in March 2006 identified that NIPEC’s functions
were to transfer into a new Health and Social Services structure referred to as the
Authority. Subsequent to the establishment of the NI Assembly, the DHSSPS Minister
identified in October 2007 that further structural change would be highly unlikely
before April 2009.
2.2. The Minister has been clear about what he wishes to see in terms of patient and
client outcomes, and identified five key principles of his vision for the Health and
Social care sector:
• a patient-led service
• prioritisation of resources for front-line services
• forward-looking organisations that are innovative, where priorities are adhered to,
targets are met and where performance is always being improved
• patients and clients are given the opportunity to voice their concerns and that
dignity, respect, equality and fairness for patients, relatives and staff are at the core
of the service
• quality and standards are continually improved without compromise.
Nurses and midwives are crucial to the delivery of these important outcomes, and
so the principles will inform NIPEC’s agenda over the next year.
2.3. Other important context factors include changes to nursing and midwifery standards
and proficiencies of practice and education as a result of the deliberations of the UK
regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), as well as strategic
changes arising out of the UK-wide initiative Modernising Nursing Careers (MNC).
2.4. Locally, the establishment of regional professional standards by the Chief Nursing
Officer around infection control, professional supervision and nutrition standards
provides a dynamic context for safe and effective practice aimed at ensuring better
patient experience through the best nursing and midwifery care for the population
in Northern Ireland.
2.5. The Minister’s key patient and client outcomes, UK nursing and midwifery
developments and the Chief Nursing Officer’s (CNO) regional standards provide
the context for NIPEC’s corporate strategy for the 2008-09 and the basis for the
Business Priorities identified below.
2.6. NIPEC delivers its functions and work in accordance with a number of key values:
• providing leadership that will have a positive impact on the nursing and midwifery
• promoting a culture of equality and diversity
• working in partnership with stakeholders for the good of the public
• acting at all times with complete integrity and transparency
• being accessible to individuals and interested organisations
• being accountable to the public and our stakeholders
• being open-minded and creative in our approach to our work.
2.7. Building on the successful achievements of previous years, the corporate strategy will
again be both demanding and stretching for NIPEC as it puts into operation the
forward and outward-looking strategies of the corporate vision. In this year of HSC
Trusts consolidating their positions and implementing appropriate modernisation and
performance changes for patients & clients, NIPEC will continue to work in an
inclusive and innovative manner and through partnership with our stakeholders in
order to deliver our business priorities.
3. Business Priorities
3.1. Given the strategic landscape referred to in the introduction above, NIPEC’s business
in the 2008-2009 year must continue to be proactive and credible, providing support,
driving improved standards and contributing advice and guidance that has currency
and utility with registrants and their employers, with the aim of supporting the best
nursing and midwifery care for the population in Northern Ireland.
3.2. NIPEC supports the fundamental concept that well-supported and developed nurses
and midwives are more likely to deliver better nursing and midwifery care. Each of
our Business Priorities aims to address different aspects of that concept: the
professional development of registrants, the learning and education of registrants and
supporting the quality of registrants’ practice. Much of what NIPEC does is achieved
through partnerships with colleagues across disciplines. Our strategic partnerships
will continue to enable us to accomplish our work in the corporate priority areas.
3.3. NIPEC activities include providing advice and guidance across a range of professional
areas in relation to the practice, education and professional development of nursing
and midwifery. Often our strategic work encompasses strands of all three
professional functions simultaneously. NIPEC also contributes by highlighting
strategic professional opportunities to improve health and care and by providing
regional facilitation and leadership. We work with HSC Trust partners on a range of
professional challenges. NIPEC also promotes safe and effective high-quality care
through reviewing practice, disseminating and promoting best practice, and by
focusing organisational activities to improve nursing and midwifery. NIPEC plays a
role regionally across various strategic activities, advising on professional matters or
making recommendations. NIPEC’s business priorities for 2008-2009 reflect this
range of activities.
Support the implementation of Regional Policy and Standards
1a Conclude regional co-ordination of the Supervision Implementation Initiative and
produce a report to key players by June 2008.
1b Produce promotional material to support the effective implementation of the
regional standards aimed at ensuring safe and effective nursing care.
1c Support the implementation of regional standards by strategic facilitation and
promoting dissemination of best practice.
Support nursing and midwifery aspects of regional developments
2a Facilitate strategic development of nursing and midwifery practice as required,
in relation to Service Frameworks and other relevant service developments.
2b Facilitate the development of a strategic education framework and competency
profiles for nurses caring for patients with Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease and
Asthma on behalf of the Respiratory Services Framework and CNO.
Promote effective professional development of nurses and midwives
3a Promote the implementation of Development Framework resources across Health
and Social Care and independent sectors, increasing utilisation of portfolio learning
and development activities.
3b Support guidance and advice on effectively managing performance and competence
of nurses and midwives, addressing failing performance appropriately.
3c Strategically promote nurse and midwife involvement in and leadership of research
and development activity aimed at enhancing safety and quality of patient care.
3d Promote more robust Learning Needs Analysis activities across HSC Trusts and
other service providers in line with service needs and developments.
Promote improved standards of education and development
4a Monitor a sample of education and development-commissioned activity and report
to the DHSSPS as appropriate.
4b Promote best practice in the development of bids for commissioned education and
Provide strategic professional advice and guidance
5a Undertake reviews or analysis of matters pertinent to nursing and midwifery in
order to inform policy development and evaluation.
5b Contribute fully to strategic regional forums such as Central Nursing Advisory
Committee (CNAC), the Education Strategy Group, CNAC Research and
Development, Patient Safety Forum Learning Sets, NICE Guidance Group,
Central Workforce Development and Nursing Workforce Advisory Group.
5c Coordinate and support informed and robust responses to relevant regional,
UK and European consultations and Inquiries.
Provide professional leadership regionally
6a Raise and promote issues of professional significance with key stakeholders including
the DHSSPS and the Health and Social Care sector.
6b Contribute to strategic nursing and midwifery regulatory developments and other
Facilitate Review of Public Administration developments
7a Respond positively and effectively to changes resulting from ministerial decisions
around the Review of Public Administration and further structural changes beyond
April 2009, ensuring continuity of NIPEC’s strategic functions.
7b Explore objective evaluation of NIPEC regional work contributions.
4. Corporate Resources
4.1. NIPEC will seek to deliver this Corporate Strategy and Business Plan within its
revenue budgets. We are acutely aware of our stewardship responsibilities in relation
to the range of resources allocated to us. NIPEC has been allocated a revenue
budget of £1,346,524, which includes a 3% efficiency saving, for the financial year
2008-2009 to cover both financial and human resources.
4.2. A component of NIPEC’s efficiency strategy is that a number of core support
services have elements of the work outsourced to other organisations under Service
Level Agreements. These are:
• Central Services Agency (CSA) – one composite Service Level Agreement
covering Finance, Human Resources, Legal, Supplies, Equality, Risk Management
and Control Assurance
• Beeches Management Centre (BMC) – a Service Level Agreement for carrying out
NIPEC’s internal audit function as well as compliance with DHSSPS Controls
4.3. In addition, NIPEC generates resources from the provision of rental offices via
a Service Level Agreement with Directorate of Information Services (DIS) in regard to
the first-floor office accommodation rented by DIS for project staff and IT equipment.
4.4. In order to ensure that NIPEC adheres to best practice for regularity, propriety
and value for money, expenditure and income will continue to be closely monitored,
with reports going to the Audit Committee on a regular basis.
4.5. As a non-departmental public body, NIPEC is audited during the year by internal
audit to ensure that appropriate systems and procedures are in place for both
financial and control assurances. At the end of the financial year NIPEC’s Annual
Report and accounts are audited by the External Auditor (Northern Ireland
4.6. NIPEC continues to strive to achieve maximum benefit from its excellent physical
environment and to market its conference facilities to other organisations.
5. Accountability and Monitoring
5.1. NIPEC is accountable to the Minister for Health, Social Services & Public Safety via
the DHSSPS. The sponsoring department for NIPEC is the DHSSPS Human
Resources Directorate. NIPEC will be monitored by the DHSSPS against the
Corporate Strategy and Business Plan, through an annual Accountability Meeting, an
Annual Report and other ad hoc arrangements.
5.2. NIPEC will keep this Corporate Strategy and Business Plan under review and will
continue to strive to demonstrate clear accountability for the work we are doing.
Article I. Legislation
NIPEC was established in 2002 under the Health and Personal Social Services Act
as a NDPB, sponsored by the DHSSPS. The Act identifies the following responsibilities
“(2) It shall be the duty of the Council to promote -
(a) high standards of practice among nurses and midwives;
(b) high standards in the education and training of nurses and midwives; and
(c) the professional development of nurses and midwives.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2) the Council may -
(a) provide guidance on best practice for nurses and midwives; and
(b) provide advice and information on matters relating to nursing and midwifery.
(4) The Council shall, in the exercise of its functions, act -
(a) in accordance with any directions given to it by the Department; and
(b) under the general guidance of the Department.”
2 Health & Personal Social Services (2002 Act) (Commencement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2002 refers, SR 2002 No.311 (C.25)
Mrs Maureen Griffith
Miss Paddie Blaney, Chief Executive
Professor Jennifer Boore
Ms Thelma Corey
Mrs Dolores McCormick
Mr Iain W McGowan
Miss Frances McMurray
Mrs Eleanor Hayes
Mrs Hazel Baird
Dr Sally Magee (Deputy Chair)
Dr Brendan McCarthy
Mrs Maria A O’Hare
Mrs Pat Patten
Mr Michael M Rea
Mrs Florence McMahon
Ex Officio Member
Chief Nursing Officer, DHSSPS
79 Chichester Street
Belfast BT1 4JE
Tel: (028) 9023 8152
Fax: (028) 9033 3298