NHS basic pay, sick leave and pensions for hotel services staff at Imperial College Healthcare as initial step to improving working lives and service quality

All porters, cleaners and catering staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are to receive NHS basic pay rates and sick leave and have access to the NHS pension scheme following a review of options for the future management of ‘hotel services’ across our five hospitals. The move will help ensure our hotel services staff are able to play their full and fair role within our care teams and enable us to improve service quality collaboratively.

The Trust’s decision in the autumn to explore changes to terms and conditions meant we had to halt the process we had begun to retender our contract for hotel services with external providers. With the current contract due to expire at the end of March, we will manage these services directly from 1 April 2020, when the improvements to terms and conditions will also take effect.

As part of our review of options - and drawing on the experiences of other NHS trusts and discussions with our staff and trade union partners - we have concluded there is a case for making the direct management of hotel services a permanent move. However, the costs, benefits and risks are not yet sufficiently understood. Running the services in-house will enable us to make that judgement in full knowledge of the implications and opportunities. Therefore, we will undertake an evaluation after one year in order to decide whether to continue to employ hotel services staff directly - and bring all staff up to full NHS (Agenda for Change) terms and conditions – or re-tender the contract with a significantly amended specification.

Imperial College Healthcare chief executive Professor Tim Orchard said: “We went into the hotel services contract re-tendering process knowing we wanted significant improvements in quality and for our cleaners, porters and catering staff to feel properly valued and part of our wider team. We thought we could achieve that through a new contract but it became apparent that our amended specification was not enough. We have looked at different models for managing hotel services, all with successful examples. We now have an opportunity to make a real step change – for our patients and our staff – that best suits our circumstances.

“These changes will create additional cost pressures next year but we are confident that there are also benefits to unlock, arising from better team working, more co-ordinated planning and improved quality. The pace of change will be challenging but I am confident we will achieve our first test of better team working to meet the 1 April 2020 timescale. To help us manage the transition, we have appointed Retearn, a specialist company with a strong track-record in supporting organisations temporarily to ‘insource’ as well as ‘outsource’ facilities management.

“I’m very grateful to the wide range of Trust staff who have worked incredibly hard to get to this point; to our hotel services staff and their trade union representatives for contributing to the review and sharing their expertise; and to all our staff who I know will want to play their full part in helping to implement these changes and realising the benefits for patients and for colleagues.”

The Trust will now consult its staff and trade union partners on transferring approximately 1,000 hotel services staff to its employment from the current holder of its hotel services contract, Sodexo, under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)) Regulations.


Agenda for Change is the pay and terms and conditions system for all NHS staff (apart from doctors and dentists). As well as pay, sick leave and pension, it covers annual leave, hours of the working week, part-time employees and employees on fixed-term contracts and a range of other terms and conditions.

Around half our hotel services staff had moved from the minimum wage to the London Living Wage on 1 November 2019 (£10.55 per hour; £10.75 by 1 April 2020). The remainder of our hotel services staff were on improved terms and conditions as they had been TUPE transferred from direct employment on NHS terms and conditions and/or from previous contract holders. These latest improvements to pay and terms and conditions will harmonise pay for all hotel services staff at NHS basic rates, with minimum pay of £11.28 per hour (including high cost area supplement) from 1 April 2020. All staff will also be eligible for paid sick leave from the first day of absence.