Maintaining good job evaluation practice

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1. Embedding good practice 

1.1 The NHS job evaluation (NHS JE) scheme is used to determine the pay bands for all posts on Agenda for Change (AFC) contracts. It was introduced in 2004 and relies on consistent application within organisations and across the service.

1.2 Whilst many current posts were banded using the JE process outlined below at the time of implementation, it is essential that the NHS JE Scheme continues to be used for determining the banding of posts and consequently staff pay rates.  This will especially apply to all new posts and posts which have significantly changed since they were last evaluated.

1.3 The NHS JE process aims to:

  • ensure job descriptions and person specifications are up to date and accurately reflect the demands of the post (see chapter 10)
  • match jobs against national profiles using the procedure in chapter 12
  • evaluate jobs in accordance with chapter 13 using the job analysis questionnaire, job analysis interview and evaluation panels
  • ensure pay structures are consistent and do not unfairly discriminate employees or staff groups.
  • ensure all the above is carried out in partnership.

1.4 The AFC agreement requires fairness and equality in line with equal pay legislation.  This is a continuing requirement as organisations develop new services and posts and incorporate the job evaluation process into procedures, particularly, but not exclusively, organisational change and service improvement.

1.5 In order to continue to match/evaluate jobs, organisations need to ensure that there are enough trained job evaluation practitioners to enable matching, analysis, evaluation and consistency checking in partnership.  The Job Evaluation Group offers training on matching, evaluating and consistency checking.

2. Job evaluation and service improvement

2.1 Job evaluation does not in itself achieve service improvement but the process may assist in the identification and development of new roles, and it is necessary to ensure that new posts are slotted into the organisational structure at the correct level.  Employers in England and Wales should also note the contents of Annex 24 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service handbook.

2.2 Organisations need to consider whether to replace vacant posts with a similar post or to evaluate the needs of the service and create a new role in line with service improvement.

3. Changed jobs

3.1 One of the aims of AFC is to allow NHS organisations to operate more flexibly by developing roles in partnership. Detailed procedures need to be agreed locally.  

3.2 All posts change over a period of time. For most, the job evaluation outcome will not normally be affected unless there are significant changes.  Some job outcomes may be close to band boundaries and consequently the banding for these jobs may change with only limited changes to job demands.

3.3 The decision about whether changes are significant and warrant a re-evaluation should be made in partnership by knowledgeable Job Evaluation practitioners

3.4 Organisations need to establish how changes to posts will be identified and verified.  In some cases it may be obvious and there will be discussion around these changing roles. On other occasions it may be due to demographic, incidental or re-organisational changes.

3.5 Disputes over whether a job has changed significantly should be resolved through the local grievance procedure or a local arbitration process.

4. Re-evaluation of changed jobs

4.1 Where a post holder and their manager agree that the demands of the post have changed significantly, then a re-match or re-evaluation of the post needs to be carried out.  

4.2 To make a request for re-evaluation or re-match the post holder must submit either an amended agreed job description, or agreed evidence showing which skills and responsibilities applicable to the post have changed.  They should also provide details of the changed job demands that have led them to believe there is a change in factor levels. (note: It is advised that job descriptions are kept up to date with all changes whether they are deemed significant or not).

4.3 Post holders must be advised that the outcome of the re-evaluation or rematch could be to remain in the same band; or go up or down a band.

4.4 A re-match or re-evaluation should assess the whole job, albeit with a reference back to the original match or evaluation. Just dealing with some of the factors could lead to inconsistencies.  

4.5 If the banding outcome changes as a result of re-evaluation, that change should be backdated to when the postholder and manager agreed the job has changed. Disputes about back-dating should be resolved through local procedures.

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