FAQs: Simplified KSF

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06 / 11 / 2010 6.13pm

Why has the NHS Staff Council simplified the KSF?

What has changed?

How does it differ from the full KSF?

How has the simplified KSF been developed?

How can the simplified KSF help with appraisals?

Is the KSF mandatory?

How does the simplified KSF support professional development?

Can trusts still use the full KSF?

Are there any support materials on the simplified KSF for trusts?

Who can help if employers have queries about the simplified KSF?

How can you allow trusts to tailor KSF if it’s part of the Agenda for Change terms and conditions?

Has the link to pay in the “gateways” been changed in the simplified KSF?

Can the e-KSF tool support the simplified KSF?

Why has the NHS Staff Council simplified the KSF?

The Staff Council commissioned an independent review of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) in response to feedback from staff and employers that the KSF was too complex and difficult to integrate into staff appraisals. The review confirmed the need to simplify KSF so it is easier to use and better integrates with appraisals.

What has changed?

The simplified KSF provides a flexible personal development tool for appraisals that is easier to use and gives employers the flexibility tailor KSF to meet local needs. The simplified KSF now focuses on the six core dimensions that apply to every job which have been re-written so they are simpler, shorter and easier to understand. and now include actions and behaviours that indicate whether they are being met or not. There are different options for developing post outlines and the need to collect evidence has been significantly reduced.

How does it differ from the full KSF?

The simplified KSF gives trusts a flexible tool that they can tailor to meet their organisation’s needs and recognises that in today’s NHS, one size does not ‘fit all’. It now focuses on 6 core dimensions – instead of 30 – that are simpler and shorter. There is a new optional dimension on leadership and management for senior roles that has been developed in response to feedback from employers.

How has the simplified KSF been developed?

Following the independent review of the KSF, commissioned by the NHS Staff Council, the Institute for Employment Studies, led a national working group of employers, trade unions and NHS Employers, who developed the simplified KSF and guidance, Appraisals and KSF made simple – a practical guide. They were supported by a wider reference group of employers and union representatives. The simplified approach has been tested with employers and endorsed by the NHS Staff Council and the Department of Health.

How can the simplified KSF help with appraisals?

The new guidance, Appraisals and KSF made simple – a practical guide, sets out a simpler approach to integrating performance and development reviews, using the simplified KSF  as part of the appraisal process. It emphasises the importance of discussions between the line manager and staff member, minimising the bureaucracy, and making direct links between individual and organisational objectives.

Is the KSF mandatory?

The KSF remains part of the Agenda for Change national terms and conditions. However, the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook that covers Agenda for Change, has been amended to reflect the introduction of the simplified KSF and related guidance, and the new flexible approach that enables employers to tailor KSF to meet local needs.

How does the simplified KSF support professional development?

The optional specific dimensions are still available and may be helpful for those staff with on-going professional development. For these staff in particular, it is important that the six core KSF dimensions, are complemented by specific professional competencies.

Can trusts still use the full KSF?

Yes, the full KSF is still available for use, if it is helpful to meet local needs.

Are there any support materials on the simplified KSF for trusts?

A range of materials and resources has been developed to support trusts on both the simplified KSF and linking it to the appraisal process, covering both performance and personal development. Guidance includes creating post outlines, objective setting, ensuring effective appraisals, tools and templates for trusts, including a tool to help organisations assess  whether they have an effective appraisal process.

Who can help if employers have queries about the simplified KSF?

Employers can email their queries to NHS Employers at agendaforchange@nhsemployers.org.
Individual members of staff should speak to their line manager or the key contact in their organisation for appraisals eg. HR, learning or development teams.

How can you allow trusts to tailor KSF if it’s part of the Agenda for Change terms and conditions?

The simplified KSF simply allows trusts to tailor and adapt KSF to meet local needs, in response to employer and staff views.  The new approach has been endorsed by the NHS Staff Council, that represents employers and trade unions and reflected in the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook that covers staff on Agenda for Change.

Has the link to pay in the “gateways” been changed in the simplified KSF?

No. The simplified KSF and related guidance has not changed the link between KSF and pay gateways, or the system for pay progression within pay bands in Agenda for Change.

Can the e-KSF tool support the simplified KSF?

The e-KSF tool is being adapted to provide greater flexibility and NHS Employers will update trusts as soon as possible on the timescales for this. The implications for the ESR system are also being considered.

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