Section 1: Pay structure (England and Wales*1)

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Pay spines

1.1 The NHS pay system as a whole will have two pay spines or series of pay bands: pay spine one for staff within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body and pay spine two for staff within the extended remit of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB).

1.2 This Handbook sets out pay and conditions for staff within the remit of the NHSPRB. Section 40 explains the role of the NHS Staff Council, its Executive and the NHS pay review bodies. Annex 16 sets out the extended coverage of the NHSPRB. Pay and conditions for the most senior managers are outside the scope of this Handbook (see paragraph 1.7 in this Section).

1.3 The pay spine for staff covered by the NHSPRB will be divided into nine pay bands. All staff covered by this pay system will be assigned to one of these pay bands on the basis of job weight, as measured by the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme.

1.4 To assist this process, a set of NHS jobs have been evaluated and national job profiles drawn up where the job evaluation score is agreed. Staff whose jobs match these profiles will be assigned on the basis of the profile score. Other jobs will be evaluated locally on a partnership basis. When new posts are created or existing posts re-designed the principles set out in the Job Evaluation Handbook (third edition) will apply.

1.5 The NHS Job Evaluation Handbook2 sets out the basis of job evaluation, which underpins the pay system and includes the factor plan, the weighting and scoring document and a guide for matching posts locally.

1.6 The nine pay bands and their corresponding job evaluation scores are set out in Table 1(a)3. Within this structure, pay band 8 is sub-divided into four ranges.

Table 1 (a)

Pay bands and job weight

NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) spine
 Pay band Job weight
 1 0 - 160
 2 161 - 215
 3 216 - 270
 4 271 - 325
 5 326 - 395
 6 396 - 465
 7 466 - 539
 8a 540 - 584
 8b 585 - 629
 8c 630 - 674
 8d 675 - 720
 9 721 - 765

1.7 There are separate arrangements for Chief Executives and directors at board level whose posts are not subject to the pay system in this Handbook 4. These alternative arrangements may also apply to other senior posts which, in this pay structure, have been assessed as having a job weight over 630 points5.

Pay progression

1.8 Incremental pay progression for all pay points, within each pay band, will be conditional upon individuals demonstrating that they have the requisite knowledge and skills/competencies for their role and that they have demonstrated the required level of performance and delivery during the review period, as determined locally in line with Annex 23 (England and Wales).

1.9 Provided the appropriate level of performance and delivery has been achieved during the review period, individuals will progress from pay point to pay point on an annual basis. For pay bands 1 to 7, 8A and 8B this will apply to all the pay points in each pay Band. For pay bands 8C, 8D and 9 this will apply for the first 4 pay points in the band (see Annex 2 and paragraphs 1.11 to 1.15 in this Section).

1.10 Ordinarily, pay progression should not be deferred on performance grounds unless there has been a prior documented discussion between the individual and the person undertaking their review, regarding failure to meet the required level of performance, and the employee has been given a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate the required improvement before the decision on pay progression is taken. This prior discussion would need to identify areas for improvement and any reasonable developmental support the individual may require to operate at the required local level of performance.  

Annually earned pay points

1.11 Pay progression beyond the first four pay points in pay bands 8C, 8D and 9 will be dependent upon the achievement of locally determined levels of performance. Staff will progress through the last two pay points in these pay bands only when they are assessed as having met the required level of performance. 

1.12 Pay progression for this level of performance will be non-recurring and reviewed on an annual basis7. When an individual who holds an annually earned pay point has not met the required level of performance and delivery for a given year, they will have one annually earned pay point withdrawn. The last two pay points in pay bands 8C, 8D and 9 (the annually earned points) will not be subject to pay protection8.

1.13 Where incremental points are withdrawn, this does not preclude normal capability and disciplinary procedures being followed and appropriate action taken, when appropriate.

1.14 Annex 23 (England and Wales) sets out the principles which will underpin these systems and provides guidance on their operation.

1.15 In England this will apply to appraisal objectives after April 2013 for incremental pay progression post April 2014 and in Wales this will apply to appraisal objectives after April 2015 for incremental pay progression post April 2016.

1.16 Annex 3 sets out the values of the pay points in the pay bands and the pay spine in England, in full, effective from 1 October 2004. The latest values of the pay points are in Annex 2. Employers elsewhere will need to refer to the relevant documents in their countries.

Incremental Dates

1.17 For newly appointed or promoted staff the incremental date will be the date they take up their post.

1.18 All other staff will retain their current incremental date.



*1 in Wales this Section is part of a three year agreement. It applies there until 31 December 2017.

2 Available, together with the nationally evaluated job profiles, on the Agenda for Change website at: http://www.nhsemployers.org/your-workforce/pay-and-reward/pay/job-evaluation 

See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

4 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

5 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

6 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales.

7 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

8 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

Pay circular (AforC) 1/2016: amendment number 36


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