Section 31: Recruitment, promotion and staff development

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31.1 It is consistent with the delivery of the highest quality healthcare that all NHS employers should have fair and non-discriminatory systems for recruiting, developing and promoting people. Fair and open procedures that ensure that recruitment takes place from a diverse talent pool should be in place and those people with a responsibility for recruitment should be trained for their role.
31.2 Recruitment and promotion procedures should be regularly monitored to identify where and how they can be improved, and to enable the planning of potential positive action initiatives for under-represented groups (see 31.25 and 31.26).
31.3 Equality of access to opportunities for promotion and development should apply, regardless of protected characteristics, hours worked or any other non-standard term in the contract of employment.
31.4 Recruitment agencies used for finding permanent or temporary staff should be informed of this agreement and expected to follow fair and objective selection procedures. They should also be informed that their performance will be monitored in line with local arrangements.
Job and person specifications
31.5 Before any decision is made to advertise a job, NHS employers should decide that a real vacancy exists and should be clear about the requirements of the job. Opportunities for flexibility, as set out in Section 34, should be assessed and acted upon so as to attract as diverse a group of applicants as possible, without unnecessary conditions being applied.
31.6 Each job should have a written job description and person specification. These should be reviewed regularly and at least every time a vacancy occurs to ensure that they remain relevant and are flexible, including making reasonable adjustments where people with disabilities apply.  Should significant changes be made to a job description the usual job evaluation procedures should be followed to determine pay banding (see the NHS Job Evaluation Handbook)
31.7 Person specifications should outline the genuine minimum requirement and, where appropriate, any genuine occupational qualification (GOQ) necessary for the job to be done effectively. Emphasis should be placed on quality, rather than length of experience, and consideration should be given to experience gained outside paid employment.  Qualifications should not be required solely to boost a post’s job evaluation score.
Seeking applicants
31.8 All jobs must be advertised in line with the organisation’s local policy and procedure.
31.9 Advertisements should be designed and placed to attract as wide a group of suitably qualified applicants as possible. Where recruitment agencies are involved they should be made aware of the requirements of this agreement and given clear instructions regarding the employer’s policies.
31.10 Advertisements should be expressed in clear language and be made available in a variety of formats e.g. large print or on audio and advice given to applicants should be consistent to avoid discrimination.
Forms of application
31.11 Where application forms are used they should be simple and to the point, requesting only that information which is essential to making an informed decision.
31.12 Applications should be accepted in a variety of formats to ensure equality of access.
31.13 Whichever type of application is adopted, a confidential means for equality monitoring applicants and the success of their application should be agreed at local level (see also 31.30 – 31.32).
31.14 Selection should always be a competitive process, except where a member of staff is being re-deployed to accommodate their disability, health needs, maternity, training or other similar situation.
31.15 Objective selection methods must be used and tangible evidence recorded for transparency of selection decisions (see also 31.30 to 31.32).
31.16 All applicants, where they request it, are entitled to know the reasons why their application has been unsuccessful. 
31.17 When confirming an applicant’s right to work in the UK, recruiters must be careful not to make discriminatory assumptions about nationality checks.
Selection decision
31.18 Everyone involved in selection should be trained in undertaking fair and objective recruitment.
31.19 Selection decisions should be carried out by more than one person. Where a panel is appropriate, it should reflect the diversity of the local population/workforce.
31.20 Selection should be consistently applied and based upon clear criteria which are in line with the job description and person specification.
31.21 A written record of all decisions should be kept for a minimum of six months.
31.22 A means of monitoring the selection process should be agreed at local level.
Selection processes and tools
31.23 Interviews are one means of selecting job applicants. Consideration should be given to the options available. In all cases the process should suit the requirements of the job and be designed to bring out the best in the applicants.
31.24 All shortlisted applicants should be asked if they require any particular arrangements or reasonable adjustments to be made in the selection process, to enable ease of participation.
31.25 Applicants must not be asked about their health status prior to an offer of employment.  Organisations are encouraged to adopt processes such as those outlined in the DWP’s Disability Confident scheme ( to ensure equality of recruitment experience.
Positive action
31.26 As set out in the general statement in Section 30, positive action measures are permitted where the conditions set down in legislation are met.
31.27 An example of positive action can be targeted recruitment. Statements in advertisements, and the appropriate placement of advertisements, can encourage people from under-represented groups to apply.
Training and development
31.28 Every new employee should undergo a comprehensive induction programme, including training in diversity and inclusion policy and practice at work.
31.29 Every employee should have annual development reviews, sometimes referred to as appraisal,  and a personal development plan.
31.30 Information on training and development opportunities should be widely publicised and the take up of such opportunities monitored as part of the diversity monitoring process.
Monitoring and review
31.31 Recruitment policies and practices should be monitored to ensure compliance with relevant legislative and contractual requirements
31.32 Action should be taken by employers to analyse data on recruitment, promotion and training and address any issues in partnership with local staff representatives.
31.33 Records on recruitment and promotion, including reasons for decisions to employ or not, should be kept for a minimum of six months.

Amendment number 40: NHS TCS Advisory Notice 01/2019

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