Category Archives: Workforce Planning and Development

New CILIP Professional Knowledge and Skills Base

In partnership with CILIP, Health Education England are delighted to make the revised Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) and Healthcare Sector Guidance notes available to NHS Knowledge and Library Specialists in England.

The PKSB provides an excellent framework for individuals to map their existing knowledge and skills against the requirements of their current or future roles, identify gaps, and prioritise professional development.  For service managers and organisations, the tool is indispensable, helping to identify skills and knowledge gaps within a team and thereby inform training and development plans.

The revised PKSB has been extended to reflect the growing importance of skills in data handling and knowledge management, and to incorporate recommendations around digital skills identified by CILIP’s Technology Review.

Developed by a cross-sectoral working group, the PKSB itself is generic, applying to library and information professionals in any sector. It can easily be adapted to many different areas of the profession.  Health Education England, and knowledge and library specialists, have also worked with CILIP to produce Health Guidance Notes which provide practical examples of how the knowledge and skills identified in the PKSB may apply to roles in health context.

What has changed in the new PKSB?

Perhaps the most obvious change to the structure of the PKSB is two new sections about Data Management and Knowledge Management.  These reflect the growing importance of skills in these areas for information professionals as well as a growth in CILIP membership from colleagues specialising in these fields.

The relevance of Knowledge Management skills for health knowledge and library specialists is explicit in the priorities set by the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy. The need to manage information and share lessons learned have become high profile through the pandemic.

A glance at the Data Management section reveals skills such as AI and Algorithmic Literacy which includes “Critically evaluating automated search….processes.”  This is surely a familiar skill to any colleague who has helped users to understand how search engines work.

This and other additions also reflect the findings of CILIP’s Technology Review, the profession’s response to the Topol Review.  Emerging technologies are changing the delivery of knowledge services. New skills here include the intriguingly entitled “Computational Sense” which captures the unique skills of knowledge and library specialists in adapting and adopting new technologies and acting as a bridge between the needs of users and those developing technologies.

Other changes include:

  • Moving the Core Principles to the start of the document and explicitly referencing “Professional Development” among these principles
  • An emphasis on the importance of taking a leadership role at all levels
  • Expanding the section on literacies and learning including digital, media, and health literacy
  • Inclusion of new generic skills including Reflective Practice, Team Working, Consultancy and Consultancy Services.
  • Strengthening of the document to address bias and reflect our commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Where will I find the PKSB and the Health Guidance?

The PKSB is made freely available to all NHS knowledge and library staff in England through a partnership agreement between Health Education England and CILIP.

The tool remains the intellectual property of CILIP and for this reason you are not permitted to share the resources.  You should receive an email from Health Education England including details of how to access the resource but if you have any problems accessing the documents you should contact:

Following the full launch of the PKSB by CILIP in the summer all CILIP members will have access to the PKSB and associated guidance, including an online interactive version of the PKSB.

 I am part way through professional registration. What does this mean for me?

To avoid any potential confusion, CILIP encourages colleagues who are currently undertaking Professional Registration (Certification, Chartership, Fellowship) to use the same version of the PKSB throughout the process.

Facet Publications Discount

The PKSB Healthcare Sector Guidance lists a number of Facet titles which may be of interest in developing skills against each section of the PKSB.  Between 1st May and 31st August Facet is offering a 15% discount against all print titles listed in the PKSB Healthcare Sector Guidance for any colleagues who may not be CILIP members

List of titles (Word)

List of titles (Excel)

When ordering these titles please use the discount code PKSBHEE15

A reminder that CILIP members already receive a 35% discount on Facet titles at all times.

Accessing the new PKSB

NHS knowledge and library colleagues should receive an email from Heath Education England via their Library Manager including details of how to access the resource but if you have any problems accessing the documents you should contact:


Dominic Gilroy
Deputy Head Knowledge and Library Services (North West, North East and Yorkshire)
Health Education England

Workforce planning and development 2020

Like everyone we have had to adapt in this extraordinary year and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the workstream for their hard work, patience and above all adaptability this year.

CPD Group: have delivered an amazing programme this year, with more to come in the Spring: “Library Carpentry”(see below) and further workshops to develop your scanning and synthesising skills.

The third cohort of our senior leadership development programme had a virtual kick off in October and the eight participants are well on their way. With support from Maggie Woods at HEE, Tracey Pratchett has turned our former face to face programme of  workshops into a 19 module programmes.

Gil Young has been working with Jo Cornish at CILIP as part of a cross-sectoral working group setting up a Trailblazer group for a level 6/7 apprenticeship in library, information sciences and knowledge management. Gil has also been our key link into Manchester Metropolitans’ Department of Languages, Information & Communications working on the next iteration of the health libraries elective module that ran last year – this needs something of a rethink to fit in with the University’s new style of teaching.

Things to watch out for:

  • Health Education England’s Digital skills self-assessment tool which will be rolled out to the whole NHS workforce in England
  • Library Carpentry programme – providing an opportunity for participants to deepen their skills in understanding software development and data science]

You may know that I am retiring in March 2021, and already starting to focus on the things that need sorting, filing and handing on. We have a new Chair for the Workforce Planning and Development workstream as I have handed on the baton to Dominic Gilroy. Dominic is now taking the lead responsibility for this workstream. I wish him and all of you every success.

With season’s greetings,

David Stewart
Head of Library and Knowledge Services: North East and Yorkshire / North West

Achieving an improved staffing ratio

The NHS requires proactive knowledge services as business-critical instruments of informed decision-making. Currently there is significant variation in the ratio of qualified librarians and knowledge specialists to healthcare staff, leading to inequitable service provision across England. This means that the Service is not uniformly able to draw on evidence for #MillionDecisions. The introduction of a recommended staff ratio is a key action by Health Education England to enable individual organisations to identify and address that risk.

The policy, agreed by the Health Education England Executive in November 2019, provides a set of recommendations from which trusts and arm’s length bodies may look to ensure, and where necessary continuously build, improved staffing levels.


  1. To optimise the benefits for the NHS of the emerging new roles for librarians and knowledge specialists, HEE recommends that all NHS organisations:
  • (i)    review regular reports of the positive impact of the library and knowledge service on outcomes
  • (ii)    work with the local library service manager to prioritise allocation of clinical librarian, knowledge manager and other embedded roles to specialities
  • (iii)   take incremental steps to improve the staff ratio between qualified librarians and knowledge managers per member of the NHS workforce, through role redesign and by expanding this specialist workforce
  1. HEE recommends that over time, all NHS organisations aspire to achieving a much-improved staffing ratio
  2. HEE recommends that those NHS organisations with a staffing ratio in the region of the current average of 1 qualified librarian to 1,730 or more healthcare staff, strive to achieve a ratio of at least 1 qualified librarian or knowledge specialist per 1,250 WTE NHS staff.
  3. HEE commits to monitoring the staff ratios annually and to reviewing the recommended ratio in three years’ time.

Organisations are invited to contact their local HEE Library and Knowledge service lead for support in progressing these recommendations.