Tag Archives: Skills

Roll the drums and sound the trumpets the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health has arrived

Launched at the CILIP Conference on the 12th July 2016, the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) for Health (login required) is now available.

If only there was a way of encapsulating the broad range of skills and knowledge required to develop the health library and knowledge workforce to meet current and future needs?  Over the last year the Competencies Task and Finish Group have worked with CILIP to create an enriched version of the CILIP PKSB which has examples from a health setting throughout.

The Group have scrutinised every word in the CILIP PKSB and interpreted it for a health setting.  We have also had lengthy debates about what constitutes a competency and the differences between knowledge, skills, values and behaviours.  We have looked at numerous other examples of competency and value frameworks for different professions and have worked tirelessly to produce a tool that can be used by anyone working in the health library and knowledge sector, whatever their role.

The PKSB for Health will only be of use if it is embraced by the whole health library and knowledge workforce and as such we would like to encourage you to take a look and start using the self- assessment tool to plan your own personal development.   Don’t panic – there is no expectation that an individual will have the same level of skills and knowledge across the whole of the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health.  The level of knowledge and skills will vary depending upon your role.

How can it help you?

  • As a self-assessment tool it can help you to plan your personal development and be used as part of the process of gaining professional registration and revalidation by CILIP
  • It can be used to demonstrate your unique skill set to employers and enhance their understanding of the competencies required by library and knowledge staff
  • It can be used to inform role and service redesign, staff training and be used to support staff recruitment and retention
  • It can be used by managers as part of the appraisal and talent management process
  • It will be used to support workforce planning and development at local, regional and national level.

Download the full PKSB for Health (login required)

CILIP members may also access via the CILIP website

Practical suggestions to get you started:

  • Read and share with colleagues the brochure –  The Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health
  • Read the full Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health
  • Use the self-assessment ratings to score your level of knowledge and skills
  • Identify any areas that you want to develop and think about how you might do that – the Learning Zone may help here
  • Share the PKSB for Health with your employer or line manager and colleagues.
  • Consider using it with your line manager as a way of jointly identifying areas which you want to develop

The second Competencies Task and Finish Group have met to discuss the second phase of their work which will consider additional tools to supplement the PKSB for Health and create resources for role reconfiguration– more of this in a future post.

Please let us know how you get on using the PKSB for Health or get in touch with your LKLS Lead if you would like further information.

Alison Day on behalf of the Competencies TAF

“Not for shrinking violets” Knowledge Organisation in 21st century

Back in March, I attended the International Society of Knowledge Organisation’s event looking at the future of knowledge organisation (KO) from the perspectives of employers, universities, trainers, researchers and practitioners, with each giving their views on the roles, skills and training needed. It was an afternoon of interesting discussion (plus the opportunity to see some scary-looking antique dentistry equipment on display, as it was hosted at the British Dental Association!*)

I must confess I’ve never really considered KO as a whole subject in its own right; while I appreciate its importance, it seemed to be part and parcel of what we do, so an entire event looking at just the KO aspect was mind-bogglingly detailed, yet fascinating. Inevitably there was a lot of crossover with knowledge management (KM).

You can view all of the presentations in full and find out more about the ISKO on their website, so I will briefly summarise some points from the event.

Sylvie Davies discussed the teaching of KO and how this has changed from her perspective over the years at Robert Gordon University. One of the points highlighted was a perceived reluctance of the students to get involved in the more technical elements – which I found a little worrying for a profession that needs to be IT-literate. Indeed, in the case of RGU, KO has replaced the more technical Information Retrieval module.

Anne Ashdown from recruiter Progility gave the recruiter’s perspective on how KO roles have changed to become more commercially focused and intersect more with marketing. Key skills sought by employers are the ability to combine external information and content with internal knowledge, avoiding information overload. Anne also highlighted Knowledge Management and KO are not for shrinking violets – we are very much in the thick of it.

Dr Vivenne Winterman gave an overview and brief history of KO practice. The first approach we took to KO was good old (resource-intensive) databases, before moving on to tools such as After Action Reviews and Knowledge Harvesting. Vivienne highlighted that people and culture are central to knowledge transfer. She highlighted the skills shortfall in digital and information literacy, worrying given 90% of roles require IT skills – and interesting given Sylvie Davies’s presentation. She stressed that the next generation of information professionals still need taxonomy and metadata skills.

David Haynes’s observations on delivering metadata and taxonomy training again highlighted the need for these skills, and how important they are in multi-professional teams and projects. David also highlighted the importance of communications between those procuring IT products such as SharePoint, and those with KO skills – who can bring different perspectives to help fully understand the product.

Noleen Schenk from Metataxis then took us on a journey into the future of KM, KO and information management – with a few key facts and figures, such as the fact data is doubling every 12 hours: by 2020, 44 Zetabytes of data will exist. There are 40,000 Google searches per second. ‘Digital’ changes everything – we are now in a smart, connected world. Artificial Intelligence might be just transactional at the moment, but as AI gains additional context and capability will change how we act and react with it, not to mention the Internet of Things already becoming reality – which of raises some real worries around cyber security. All things we’re well aware of, but what will this mean for our roles? Noleen suggested roles will need softer skills complementing information and KO skills.


So, what did I make of it all? An interesting afternoon looking at the different perspectives, perhaps no major surprises in terms of what we’ve seen with changing roles- the skills may not vary drastically, but we seem to be using those ‘traditional’ skills in new ways, combined with softer skills or working as part of multi-speciality teams. Perhaps the worrying thing was that the universities don’t seem to be keeping up with this as well as they might – a risk in terms of how we have the right skills in the workforce of the future.

*There are some amazing pictures on the BDA website!

Emily Hopkins
Programme Manager – Knowledge Management
Health Education England


The competent set ……

To be able to deliver the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework, we need an effective knowledge service workforce. As part of the framework document, the following promise was made “we will establish … a competency framework that defines core and specialist competencies …” Cue a Competencies TAF

We first met at CILIP HQ at the end of August to look at CILIP’s existing document called the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB); a familiar document to anyone following Chartership. As CILIP had already put a great deal of thought and effort into producing the PKSB, we were delighted to be able to use this as our starting point.  The original, CILIP version is applicable to professionals working in any sector, so we concentrated our efforts in customising it to specifically reflect the work of healthcare information professionals. We have since spent 15 hours of teleconferencing working out way through the document line by line and adapting it to suit the Knowledge for Healthcare Framework. I won’t mention the hours of preparation we undertook before each meeting.

So how are we defining competencies? There are many definitions out there. This link will give you a good overview of the topic.  At the moment we are working on the following definition but it is still being hotly debated as we learn more about this area.

Competency is defined as the expected level of performance that integrates knowledge (cognitive), skills (functional) and attitudes (behavioural)

From this definition we have the knowledge and skills already aligned to healthcare and are now beginning to think about the attitudes that will need to be assimilated into the this framework. Our next set of teleconferences are booked and our Healthcare PKSB is out for consultation with the reference group and you, dear reader, if you would like to help us. We are looking forward to delivering the competency framework in the Spring of 2016.

This stage has been about professional staff, so the next TAF will be looking at an equivalent for paraprofessionals. There will be a call for new members in the Spring so do think about it.

If you have any questions or good ideas, please do email me at mary.hill@christie.nhs.uk

Members of the Group

  • Lesley Allen – Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Lorna Burns – Public Health England
  • Alison Day – Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Valerie Haigh – Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mary Hill (Chair) – The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Madeleine Still – North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust