Recommendation 192

Responsible Officer for nursing

Accepted in principle
The Department of Health and the Nursing and Midwifery Council should introduce the concept of a Responsible Officer for nursing, appointed by and accountable to, the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The aim of the recommendation, which is to have a role that is accountable for providing assurance to the Nursing and Midwifery Council that nurses are meeting professional standards and are keeping themselves up-to-date and fit to practise, is best achieved through the introduction of nursing revalidation. Unlike the General Medical Council’s model of revalidation, the Nursing and Midwifery Council does not consider that this model of revalidation requires a responsible officer role.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has committed to introducing a proportionate and effective model of revalidation, which is affordable and value for money, to enhance public protection. Subject to public consultation, the proposed model would require evidence that the nurse or midwife is fit to practise. Under the current proposals, the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code and standards would be reviewed and revised to ensure they would be compatible with revalidation, and guidance for revalidation would also be developed.

NHS Employers will lead work on ensuring that there is a clear link between the values in the NHS Constitution, the vision and strategy for nursing in England, its values and behaviours as set out in the ‘6Cs’, and the organisation’s own local values. Building on this, the Department of Health will commission NHS Employers to help local organisations develop and improve value based appraisal and performance management. This will also support the actions set out in Compassion in Practice.


In February 2013, the Nursing and Midwifery Council began a UK-wide programme of engagement on revalidation and has held two national consultations. The first ran from January to March 2014 and focused on the proposed model of revalidation. The second, which ran from May to August 2014, included a draft revised Code intended to address the issues raised by the Francis reports into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. These include, for example, putting patients first (including a greater emphasis on providing the fundamentals of care, hydration and nutrition); dealing with complaints; raising concerns (‘whistle-blowing’); the professional ‘duty of candour’; and leadership, delegation and teamworking.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council will test the resulting revalidation model in a pilot during 2015 and full implementation of the model is planned to commence by the end of 2015. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has established an oversight board that will drive forward the planning and confirm that the UK is sufficiently ready for implementation.

With Health Education England, NHS Employers has developed a mapping tool to allow local organisations to map their values to those in the NHS Constitution. NHS Employers has also produced guidance for employers linking pay progression, appraisal and performance management. This includes a number of resources to support employers including good practice case studies and a model policy. Further resources including case studies and podcasts will continue to be developed during the year.