Section 31: Recruitment, promotion and staff development

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31.1 It is consistent with the delivery of the highest quality healthcare that all NHS employers should have fair and non-discriminatory systems for recruiting, developing and promoting people. Fair and open recruitment procedures should be in place and those people with a responsibility for recruitment should be trained for their role. 


31.2 Recruitment and promotion procedures should be regularly monitored to identify where and how they can be improved, and to enable the planning of potential positive action initiatives for under-represented groups.


31.3 Equality of access to opportunities for the development of skills should apply, regardless of hours worked or any other non-standard term in the contract of employment.


31.4 Recruitment agencies used for finding permanent or temporary staff should be informed of this agreement and expected to follow fair and objective selection procedures. They should also be informed that their performance will be monitored in line with local arrangements.


Job and person specifications

31.5 Before any decision is made to advertise a job, NHS employers should decide that a real vacancy exists and should be clear about the requirements of the job. Opportunities for flexibility, as set out in Section 34, should be assessed and acted upon so as to attract as talented a group of applicants as possible, without needless conditions being applied. 


31.6 Each job should have a written job description and person specification. These should be reviewed every time a vacancy occurs to ensure that they remain relevant and are flexible, including making reasonable adjustments should people with disabilities apply.


31.7 Person specifications should outline the genuine minimum requirement and, where appropriate, any genuine occupational qualification (GOQ) necessary for the job to be done effectively. Emphasis should be placed on quality, rather than length of experience, and consideration should be given to experience gained outside paid employment.



31.8 Selection should always be a competitive process, except where a member of staff is being re-deployed to accommodate their disability, health needs, maternity, training or other similar situation. In any of these situations there should still be a Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) or other relevant competency framework for the post (see Section 6 (England), Section 6 Wales) or Section 6 (Scotland and Northern Ireland).


31.9 All applicants, where they request it, are entitled to know the reasons why their application has been unsuccessful.

Seeking applicants

31.10 All jobs must be advertised, except where there is a redundancy exercise in progress.

31.11 Advertisements should be designed and placed to attract as wide a group of suitably qualified applicants as possible. Where recruitment agencies are involved they should be made aware of the requirements of this agreement and given clear instructions regarding the employer’s policies.

31.12 Advertisements should be expressed in clear language and be made available in a variety of formats. Further information should also be available in large print or on tape, and advice given to applicants should be measurably uniform.


Forms of application

31.13 Where application forms are used they should be simple and to the point, requesting only information that is essential to making an informed decision.

31.14 Where written applications would restrict the diversity of applicants, applications other than those in writing should be considered.

31.15 Whichever type of application is adopted, a confidential means for equality monitoring applicants and the success of their application should be agreed at local level.


Selection decision

31.16 Everyone involved in selection should be trained in undertaking fair and objective recruitment.

31.17 Selection decisions should be carried out by more than one person. Where a panel is appropriate, it should reflect the diversity of the workforce.

31.18 Selection should be consistently applied and based upon clear criteria which are in line with the job description and person specification.

31.19 A written record of all decisions should be kept for a minimum of one year.

31.20 A means of monitoring the selection process should be agreed at local level.


Selection processes and tools

31.21 Interviews are one means of selecting job applicants. Consideration should be given to the options available. In all cases the process should suit the requirements of the job and be designed to bring out the best in the applicants.

31.22 All shortlisted applicants should be asked if they require any particular arrangements or reasonable adjustments to be made in the selection process, to enable ease of participation.


31.23 Applicants must not be asked about their health status prior to an offer of employment.


Promotion to a higher pay band

31.24 Promotion should be a competitive selection process for internal candidates except in cases where the provisions for the development of professional roles for certain staff in band 5 apply (see Annex 20).


31.25 Opportunities for promotion should be as widely publicised as possible and open to anyone with either the skills, or potential after training, to meet the requirements of the job description.


31.26 Selection processes should apply as above.


31.27 All applicants, where they request it, should be entitled to reasons why their promotion has been unsuccessful.


Positive action

31.28 As set out in the general statement in Section 30, positive action measures are permitted where the conditions set down in legislation are met. 


31.29 Statements in advertisements, and the appropriate placement of advertisements, can encourage people from under-represented groups to apply.


Training and development

31.30 Every new employee should undergo a comprehensive induction programme, including training in equal opportunities policy and practice at work.

31.31 Every employee should have annual development reviews and a personal development plan (see Section 3 of the KSF Handbook and/or, in England and Wales, relevant local policy documents).

31.32 Information on training and development opportunities should be widely publicised and the take up of such opportunities monitored as part of the auditing process.


Monitoring and review

31.33 Recruitment policies and practices should be monitored in line with codes of practice published by both statutory bodies.

31.34 Action should be taken by employers to analyse data on recruitment, promotion and training in partnership with local staff representatives.

31.35 Records on recruitment and promotion, including reasons for decisions to employ or not, should be kept for a minimum of twelve months.

Amendment number 39: NHS TCS Advisory Notice 01/2018

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