SHaWL (Strategic HR and Workforce Leads Network)

Why did the group come about?

We know from our own daily experiences and from the findings of the Commission into Hospice Care that workforce planning and development have emerged as critical strategic challenges common to all hospices in ensuring that we are able to continue to meet growing demand for services and the changing nature of that demand in the future.


However, we also know from surveys and discussion groups undertaken with Hospice UK and HR leaders over the last 2 years that the capacity and capability of HR to deliver day to day workforce needs as well as to meet the future workforce challenges varies hugely across the Hospice sector.

We therefore face a dual challenge, looking at the national strategic direction of the workforce fit for the future whilst ensuring the most effective HR capability to build and support this workforce at a regional and local level.

You can read more about the background to the development of a national focus on workforce below.

Looking Back – Looking Forward: lessons learned from testing times to shape future wellbeing and recovery

The joint online conference with ECLiHP and SHaWL took place on Wednesday 7 July 2021 and was well attended and evaluated. If you missed it don't miss out, presentations and recordings from the event will be posted on the Conferences and learning events resource centre

What does the group seek to do?

SHaWL has therefore been created with support from Hospice UK to:

  • Provide a strategic and HR voice withiSHaWL venn diagramn the field of hospice and palliative care.
  • Advance the role of HR within hospice and palliative care
  • Work with ECLIHP (Executive Clinical Leads in Hospice and Palliative Care) and NHEC (National Hospice Education Collaborative) colleagues and any other relevant group to support workforce planning and development
  • Provide a cogent voice relating to workforce perspectives of service, planning and delivery engaging in constructive lobbying as necessary.    
  • Be a key reference point for hospice and palliative care colleagues on strategic HR issues, workforce planning and development
  • Provide support in developing HR and other leaders in the hospice and palliative care sector

Initial steps

The means to deliver these aims will vary and we will need to draw on existing expertise within the sector and in the wider HR network. As a first step we will look at planning how we can best meet these aims but initial discussion means we have a sense that this will cover work and activity such as:

  • Looking at what national and strategic activity needs to be developed to address the workforce challenges hospice care faces now and in the future
  • Develop or reinforce the regional HR networks and ensure an effective link across networks and between each region and the national group.
  • Build the case for effective, strategic HR and develop the models and competencies needed to best deliver workforce solutions
  • Identify, promote or develop tools and sources of expertise and good practice
  • Facilitate networking, coaching, peer support and learning tools, sessions or masterclasses

Latest news and developments - Work streams established 3 March 2017

SHaWL established seven work streams on 3 March 2017 to work on ahead of the next meeting in June. Three of these are joint projects with ECiHP. They are:

SHaWL workstreams

  1. Mentoring programme for the Hospice HR community (Leads: Davina, Jaci and Jane)
  2. HR in the hospice (Leads: Alan, Lisa)
  3. HR: strategic thinking and beyond the hospice (Leads: Deborah, Gillian, Matt)
  4. Steps Ahead and support for Carers (Leads: Annette, Matt)

Work streams agreed in joint session with ECLiHP

  1. Data for workforce and patients (Leads: Alan, Davina, Jaci, Jane plus a request to any others to register interest)
  2. Strategic Workforce Planning (Leads: Matt plus TBC)
  3. Leadership and management (Leads: Emma, Jaci, Annette plus a request to any others to register interest-Annette, Julie Huttley (ECLiHP)

The networks also recommended national projects around recruitment to the sector (including the Employee Value Proposition) and Planning for the future-the new models needed for hospice care and the core skills for the workforce, which are currently being explored at Hospice UK. 

Upcoming meeting dates and events

The dates of the next SHaWL meetings are 8 September and 1 December. These meetings will run parallel to the ECLiHP network, allowing us to run joint sessions as appropriate.

Who are the members of the exec group?

Within the SHaWL terms of reference (as with the ECLiHP and the Hospice UK Advisory Council) the regional representative is voted on to the exec by the local regional members, however, as we are currently only aware of 4 established HR regional networks it was deemed important to launch the network regardless of the geographical spread and support its incremental growth over time.

Current members and contact details are below.

Region Name, role Organisation Email contact

North East

Deborah Heron
Director of People

St Oswald's Hospice 
 South East Coast Jaci Curtis-Donnelly (Deputy Chair)
Director of HR & Volunteer Services
Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice
East of England To be arranged
Mandy Piper- Killick,
Director of People & Organisational Development
St Christopher’s 
South Central Angela Proctor,
Director HR & Operations
The Hospice of St Francis

Karen Donnelly, Head of Organisational & People Development

Ayrshire Hospice
South West
Annette Hill,
Director of Workforce & OD
West Midlands
Gerry Crow,
Business Development Officer / Legacies Officer
The Mary Stevens Hospice
Yorkshire and Humberside            Lindsay Hamer,
Head of HR 
The Prince of Wales Hospice          
Hospice UK representatives and support Jolekha Shasha
Head of HR

Anita Hayes
Head of Learning & Workforce

Roneeta Patel
HR Officer
Hospice UK



 East Midlands To be arranged     
 North West To be arranged    
 Northern Ireland  To be arranged    
 Wales  To be arranged    


How will the exec group work with the regional networks and how can I get involved?

The primary aims of the exec group at this stage are:

  • to grow strong supportive collegial relationships within their region, developing areas of expertise and regional interests and to build up the existing HR networks or develop new ones and to ensure there is clear engagement between local and national levels
  • to ensure the direction of the work programme determined by the Exec is informed by regional issues which would benefit from national attention.

The ultimate aim is for the exec group to guide and engage at a national level a wider network of HR and workforce expertise to meet the stated aims around HR capability and workforce development.

As the work programme develops there will be a need to reach out to those who have specialist interest or skills that can support in the delivery of planned activity. More communication on this will follow once matters become clearer as the planning for the work programme develops.

How will the group communicate and engage others

The key link will be the communication between the reps on the group and the regional HR networks.

There will be a dedicated web page on the Hospice UK website and the group will make use of the forums and resources sections of Hospice IQ. It will also use Hospice UK social media channels as well as articles on ehospice and other channels as appropriate.

What does hospice care mean to you?

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