1. The Agenda for Change negotiations on a new NHS pay system have been underway between the UK Health Departments, representatives of NHS employers and NHS staff organisations for nearly three years. As the talks are being conducted on the basis that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", very little information has been released jointly by the negotiators on the new system that is emerging in the talks. This is likely to remain the position during the final stages of the talks now underway.

2. It has however been agreed that some factual information about the proposed system can be made available to NHS managers, provided its status is made clear and it does not prejudice the position of either side in the talks.

3. The following briefing note on part of the new system known as "NHS Job Evaluation Scheme" has been prepared on this basis.


4. A Job Evaluation Working Party (JEWP) was established in November 1997 to examine the use of job evaluation systems in the NHS. JEWP is made up from Staff Side and Management Side representatives, supported by DOH, working in partnership.


5. Early work undertaken by JEWP established that none of the commonly available Job Evaluation schemes was suitable for applying to the range of NHS jobs in the UK and social care jobs in Northern Ireland. A decision was taken to develop a scheme purposely designed by JEWP which would cope with the range and diversity of NHS jobs and underpin the plans for pay reform outlined in the Agenda for Change White Paper. JEWP has been assisted by two independent experts. The scheme was intended to be able to differentiate and rank NHS jobs, to be sensitive to the organisational environment in which it would operate, and support equal pay for equal value principles.


6. JEWP has constructed and tested a Job Evaluation Scheme containing sixteen factors grouped into three main families to cover skills, responsibilities and effort. Each factor describes a number of different levels of demand allowing NHS jobs to be measured under each. Sixteen is a relatively large number of factors compared to some existing schemes. It was considered necessary to have this number of factors to ensure that all relevant job features are adequately and fairly measured. Considerable care was taken in designing the scheme to ensure that the factors did not either conflate or double count job features. Advice has been taken from the Equal Opportunities Commission and other Equality bodies at key points during the design stage. This input has been essential in ensuring the scheme is objective, free from bias and fair to all staff.

7. Several rounds of testing and subsequent refinement have taken place to bring the Job Evaluation scheme very close to its final state. The skills, knowledge and experience of NHS staff have been used to develop the scheme using information obtained from NHS postholders.

8. Over four hundred jobs have been benchmarked. The jobs have come from sites across the four countries reflecting a mix of representative organisations and geographical locations. The methodology has been to acquire information from post holders with the assistance of two analysts one a staff representative and one a management representative working in pairs. These have been trained to operate the new scheme. The questionnaires have been evaluated by panels of four staff two representing staff and two Management side.

9. The benchmarks are now being used to create a library of profiles of key and most common NHS jobs. These will give NHS organisations the reference points they will need to be able to decide easily and quickly what is the appropriate pay band for around 95% of NHS posts without the need to evaluate them locally.

10. Quality control of both the questionnaires and the subsequent evaluations has been performed by members of JEWP operating in pairs.

11. The scheme has not been formally agreed by the Central Negotiating Group. It is made available to improve understanding of how Job Evaluation is likely to apply across the NHS

12. The factor plan is being made available in the four countries without the accompanying weighting and scoring system. This will be made available in the future.

13. The Job Evaluation scheme is, at this stage, not for use in evaluating posts within the NHS. Once agreed its use will only be approved once organisations have been trained in its use. Prior to any implementation training will be provided through the Modernisation Agency. Equivalent arrangements are being made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

14. The Job Evaluation Scheme is copyright and may only be reproduced to facilitate learning across the NHS.

15. Any queries that arise about the scheme or its potential application may be addressed to Peter Smith, Chair, Job Evaluation Working Party, Room 2N32, Quarry House, Leeds, LS2 7UE 0113 254 5684.

back to top