NHS equal pay toolkit

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25 / 2 / 2016 Midday

The toolkit aims to guide employers and their local staff side organisations through their legal responsibilities in relation to equal pay audits. 

NHS Employers believes that whilst it is not a stated legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010, NHS organisations would find it very difficult to fully comply with their responsibilities under the Act without undertaking equal pay audits. The toolkit has therefore been designed and produced for these purposes. The toolkit will also help NHS organisations across the country as part of their evidence gathering for the new Equality Delivery System as it rolls out across the country.   

The toolkit builds on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) work, but recognises that the NHS has a national pay structure and job evaluation scheme in place under the Agenda for Change agreement. It is important to stress that the toolkit can be used to audit the pay arrangements for all NHS staff, including medical staff and senior managers.

Access the toolkit:

Section 1: About equal pay audits
Section 2: About the importance of job evaluation
Section 3: A step by step guide
Section 4: Equal pay data and reports

The EHRC model includes a five step toolkit. The toolkit designed for use within the NHS has been condensed to three steps as the NHS benefits from having the information systems already in place, including a robust job evaluation scheme and a single staff records system in the Electronic Staff Record (ESR).

To benefit fully from this toolkit, organisations will require access to:

  • The Electronic Staff Record (ESR) system 
  • NHS iView, the data warehouse site, designed by the NHS Information Centre, which enables comparison data within and between organisations with information taken from ESR. It is essential that employers work in partnership with their staff side colleagues to undertake this work. We recommend that the ownership and development of the audit work sits with your joint negotiating mechanism. You will need to identify individuals with a good understanding of equal pay principles and legislation, as well as the necessary skills to help develop and maintain this area of work and offer training where necessary.  We would suggest that the following people are involved in the audit process:
  • a human resources manager 
  • someone with knowledge and experience of equality and diversity and the appropriate legisation 
  • a data analyst (with knowledge of both iView and the Electronic Staff Record)
  • staff side representatives
  • a payroll manager.

Please be aware that the pay reports by each protected characteristic should be treated with caution as full and part-time staff are reported together, which makes accurate equal pay comparisons very unreliable.

E&D staff in post- grade by disability

E&D staff in post- grade by ethnicity

E&D staff in post- grade by gender

E&D staff in post- grade by religious belief

E&D staff in post- grade by sexual orientation

E&D staff in post- grade by age

E&D earnings- staff group by disability

E&D earnings- staff group by ethnicity

E&D earnings- staff group by gender

E&D earnings- staff group by religious belief

E&D earnings- staff group by sexual orientation

E&D earnings- staff group by age


The organisation should ensure that sufficient time and resources are available to undertake this work at least annually. The outcomes of this work should be published and reported to the joint staff body and board. 


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