Section 1: Pay structure (England)

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Pay spines
1.1 The NHS pay system as a whole will have two pay spines or series of pay bands: pay spine one for staff within the remit of the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body and pay spine two for staff within the extended remit of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB).
1.2 This handbook sets out pay and conditions for staff within the remit of the NHSPRB. Section 40 explains the role of the NHS Staff Council, its Executive and the NHS pay review bodies. Annex 16 sets out the extended coverage of the NHSPRB. Pay and conditions for the most senior managers are outside the scope of this Handbook (see paragraph 1.7 in this Section).
1.3 The pay spine for staff covered by the NHSPRB will be divided into nine pay bands. All staff covered by this pay system will be assigned to one of these pay bands on the basis of job weight, as measured by the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme. From the 1 December 2018 band 1 will be closed to new starters. Current Band 1 roles to be reviewed and upskilled to and 2 roles by 31 March 2021. 
1.4 To assist this process, a set of NHS jobs have been evaluated and national job profiles drawn up where the job evaluation score is agreed. Staff whose jobs match these profiles will be assigned on the basis of the profile score. Other jobs will be evaluated locally on a partnership basis. When new posts are created or existing posts re-designed the principles set out in the current version of the Job Evaluation Handbook will apply.
1.5 The NHS Job Evaluation Handbook1 sets out the basis of job evaluation, which underpins the pay system and includes the factor plan, the weighting and scoring document and a guide for matching posts locally.
1.6 The nine pay bands and their corresponding job evaluation scores are set out in table 1(a)2. Within this structure, pay band 8 is sub-divided into four ranges.

Table 1 (a) - Pay bands and job weight

NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) spine

 Pay band Job weight
 1  0 - 160
 2  161 - 215
 3  216 - 270
 4  271 - 325
 5  326 - 395
 6  396 - 465
 7  466 - 539
 8a  540 - 584
 8b  585 - 629
 8c  630 - 674
 8d  675 - 720
 9  721 - 765

1.7 There are separate arrangements for Chief Executives and directors at board level whose posts are not subject to the pay system in this Handbook3. These alternative arrangements may also apply to other senior posts which, in this pay structure, have been assessed as having a job weight over 630 points4.

Pay progression

1.8 Pay progression for all pay points, within each pay band, will be conditional upon individuals demonstrating that they have the requisite knowledge and skills/competencies for their role and that they have demonstrated the required level of performance and delivery during the review period, as determined locally in line with Annex 23 (England).

1.9 Provided the appropriate level of performance and delivery has been achieved during the review period, individuals will progress to their next pay point on their pay step date. This is dependent on individuals meeting all the required standards for progression as detailed in Annex 23 (England).

1.10 Ordinarily, pay progression should not be deferred on performance grounds unless there has been a prior documented discussion between the individual and the person undertaking their review, regarding failure to meet the required level of performance, and the employee has been given a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate the required improvement before the decision on pay progression is taken. This prior discussion would need to identify areas for improvement and any reasonable developmental support the individual may require to operate at the required local level of performance. 

Annually earned pay points

1.11 Pay progression for the penultimate and final pay points in pay bands 8c, 8d and 9 will be dependent upon the achievement of locally determined levels of performance. Staff will progress through the last two pay points in these pay bands only when they are assessed as having met the required level of performance.

1.12 Pay progression for this level of performance will be non-recurring and reviewed on an annual basis5. When an individual who holds an annually earned pay point has not met the required level of performance and delivery for a given year, they will have one annually earned pay point withdrawn. The last two pay points in pay bands 8C, 8D and 9 (the annually earned points) will not be subject to pay protection6.

1.13 Annex 23 (England) sets out the principles which will underpin these systems and provides guidance on their operation.

1.14 Annex 3 sets out the values of the pay points in the pay bands and the pay spine in England, in full, effective from 1 October 2004. The latest values of the pay points are in Annex 2.

Incremental dates

1.15 For newly appointed or promoted staff their incremental (pay step) date will be the date they take up their post.

1.16 All other staff will retain their current incremental (pay step) date.

1.17 The 2018 Framework Agreement introduces the concept of pay step points. Advancement to the next pay step point will be dependent on the length of stay at each pay step point within each band.

Transitional pay progression
1.18 Individual pay will change at two points during the year, once on 1 April through the cost of living increase (and any reform to the pay scales), and once on the individual’s pay step date if they progress to the next pay point.
1.19 As there is significant structural reform to the pay structures over the three years, numerous pay points are being removed. These pay points will be removed in April 2018, April 2019, and April
2020. Staff who are already on a pay point at the time it is to be removed will be immediately moved to the next available point, even where this does not coincide with their existing incremental date. These staff will not receive an increase on their incremental date, because they will have received their pay increase early.
1.20 Staff will retain their existing incremental date throughout transition. On their incremental date, (if they have not already benefited from deletion of a pay point) it is expected that all staff will move to the next pay point reflecting their additional complete year of experience. Where employers have arrangements in place as a result of the 2013 changes, progression can be withheld where staff are not meeting the required standards.
1.21 Staff who end the three-year deal on one of the following transitional pay points will move to the next point on 1 April 2021:
  • £27,416 (Band 5)
  • £33,779 (Band 6)
  • £41,723 (Band 7)

1 Available, together with the nationally evaluated job profiles, on the Agenda for Change website at:
2 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).
3 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).
4 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).
5 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).
6 See the question and answer guidance in Annex 28 (England and Wales).

Amendment number 36: Pay circular (AforC) 1/2016
Amendment number 39: NHS TCS Advisory Notice 01/2018

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