About Agenda for Change

Hospital staff

How Agenda for Change works 

The Agenda for Change system allocates posts to set pay bands, using the Job Evaluation Scheme. The pay system is designed to: 

  • deliver fair pay for non-medical staff based on the principle of 'equal pay for work of equal value'
  • provide better links between pay and career progression using the Knowledge and Skills Framework 
  • harmonise terms and conditions of service such as annual  leave, hours and sick pay, and work done in 'unsocial hours

Allocating posts to pay bands  

Staff are placed in one of nine pay bands on the basis of their knowledge, responsibility, skills and effort needed for the job. The assessment of each post, using the Job Evaluation Scheme (JES), determines the correct pay band for each post, and as a result,  the correct basic pay. Within each pay band, there are a number of pay points.  As staff successfully develop their skills and knowledge, they progress in annual increments up to the maximum of their pay band. Progression through all incremental pay points in all pay bands to be conditional on individuals demonstrating that they meet locally agreed performance requirements in line with Annex W (England) of the handbook. For staff in bands 8C, 8d and 9 pay progression into the last two points in a pay band will become annually earned, and only retained where the appropriate local level of performance is reached in a given year. 

Benefits of Agenda for Change 

The pay system provides benefits for both staff and employers. For employers the system provides greater flexibility to enable them to: 

  • devise new ways of working that best deliver the range and quality of services required, to best meet the needs of patients 
  • design jobs around the needs of patients rather than around grading definitions 
  • define the core skills and knowledge they want staff to develop in each job 
  • pay extra to address local recruitment and retention difficulties. 

For staff the key benefits include: 

  • a system that is fair and transparent 
  • recognition and reward for the skills and competencies staff acquire throughout their career 
  • harmonised conditions of service. 

Role of NHS Employers 

At a national level, NHS Employers pay and contracts team supports employers and the devolved administrations on the NHS Staff Council and its Executive.  The NHS Staff Council is a partnership body and has overall responsibility for operation of the pay system in respect of NHS-wide non-medical terms and conditions.   

NHS Employers also offers  advice and guidance to organisations on a range of pay and terms and conditions issues. 

Further information  

If you are a member of staff and you have a query, please contact your HR team or local trade union representative.

Employers should send queries to agendaforchange@nhsemployers.org  

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