Support from immediate managers for NHS staff

The staff pledges, part of the NHS Constitution, define what the NHS expects from staff and what staff can expect from NHS employers. Staff pledge two is 'to provide all staff with personal development, access to appropriate training for their jobs and line management support to succeed'.

What do staff say about support from their managers and how has it changed?

This question in the staff survey asks people to rank how supportive their managers are on a scale of 1 to 5 where a score of 1 represents unsupportive managers and 5 represents supportive managers.

Between 2007 and 2016 there has been little variation between different trust types. However, ambulance staff consistently report the lowest scores for the level of support received. In 2016, the score reported by ambulance staff was 0.3 points below the score for staff across trusts in England and 0.5 points below the score reported by mental health and learning disability staff.

There were no differences in reported satisfaction with the support staff received between the different staff groups we investigated (Medical/dental staff; Registered nurses; Healthcare assistants; Health visitors; Social care staff; AHP, Scientific & technical staff; General managers; wider healthcare team, which includes administration/central functions/corporate/maintenance) or staff characteristics (age, sex, disability and ethnicity - white vs. non-white).

The staff survey briefing note (see 'About this data' for more details) states that in 2016, 68% of staff were satisfied with the support that they received from their immediate manager.

Updated April 2017.

About this data

Support from immediate managers assesses the extent to which staff feel their manager or supervisor provides support, guidance and feedback on their work and takes into account their opinions before making decisions that affect their work.

The key finding comprises whether staff agree with several different statements. The agreement level indicated is then translated into a score (ranging from 1-5) for each question, with 1 representing unsupportive and 5 representing supportive managers. In 2015 the indicator was changed, to include the question: how satisfied are you with the support you get from your immediate manager?

For further information, please see the NHS Staff Survey and Briefing note: issues highlighted by the 2016 NHS staff survey in England.

National averages include other organisations outside of the sectors shown in the charts, for example PCTs and CCGs.

In 2015, extra categories were created for acute trusts and mental health & learning disability trusts that are combined community trusts. Where these trusts were previously coded as either acute trusts or mental health & learning disability trusts, the analysis included them in the categories they were previously in.


It would be helpful to know whether the definition of support or the expectations of staff and managers is changing over time. If a metric is static over time then perhaps we should be asking a different question.

Does anyone ask how supported by their staff do front line managers feel?

Anonymous (not verified)
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This key finding (support from immediate manager) comes from the survey of NHS staff. The key finding is made up from the extent to which staff agree with the following questions:

* My immediate manager encourages those who work for her or him to work as a team.
* My immediate manager can be counted on to help me with a difficult task at work.
* My immediate manager gives me clear feedback on my work.
* My immediate manager asks for my opinion before making decisions that affect my work.
* My immediate manager is supportive in a personal crisis.

Responses to these questions are then transformed into the unweighted average presented here by the survey coordinator – Picker Institute Europe. These questions have been asked each year in the survey of NHS staff since 2003.

Information is not publicly available from the survey on staff or management expectations in relation to these questions and we are not aware of any questions from any source that asks whether managers are supported by their staff.

For more information on the NHS staff survey, including guidance and methodologies, please see the information provided by clicking the ‘About this data’ link at the bottom of the page.

Kind regards,

QualityWatch Team

QualityWatch Team (not verified)
(changed )

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