Category Archives: Workforce Planning and Development

Support for Library Assistants

Over the past couple of weeks members of the National Continuing Professional Development Group have been working with Library and Knowledge Service colleagues across England to pull together two resource sheets.

The first lists ideas and suggestions for activities that library assistants and those staff working in bands 2-4 within library and knowledge services can do from home or while services are quiet because they are physically closed to users.

The second lists suggested continuing professional development opportunities that library assistants and those staff working in bands 2-4 within library and knowledge services could take the opportunity to explore.

If you have suggestions that you think could be added to either of these resource sheets please email Holly Case Wyatt or Catherine McLaren

2019 Development Needs Survey

The 2019 Development Needs Survey report has now been published. Based on returns from over 650 health library staff, it provides a wealth of information on our training and development needs as well as our use of resources such as the PKSB for Health and the Learning Zone. It also reports on responses to questions about the ability to travel to training events and how many of our staff have attended leadership development programmes.

With many thanks to Michael Cook and the team of volunteers who organised the 2019 development needs survey and its subsequent analysis, this report now gives us lots of information: HEE LKS Leads can use it to develop our CPD offer to library staff as well as thinking about how best to position the various learning resources; and library staff can use it to think about their individual and team development needs.

Below is a summary table showing the top ten development needs that have emerged from the 2019 survey report:

David Stewart
Head of Library and Knowledge Services North
Directorate of Innovation and Transformation
Health Education England

0774 702 1368

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.

For the first time this 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

2. HEE recommends that over time, all NHS organisations aspire to achieving a much-improved staffing ratio

3. 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.

4. 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.  

Sue Lacey Bryant
National Lead for NHS Library and Knowledge Services