The next Edition of the Job Evaluation Handbook will for the first time include profiles for Mental Health Nurses. Although these have been earlier agreed by Staff Side Organisations including Amicus they could not be published until a ‘critical mass’ of profiles had been agreed to support the publication of a second edition.
|How were the profiles produced?
The steps in the development of a profile are as follows:
- Completion of Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) by postholders(s), usually with the assistance of job analyst(s) to ensure all information included and accurate.
- Evaluation of JAQ(s) by the JEWP profile sub-group (‘the profile group’).
- Draft profile prepared by 1 profile group member on basis of JAQ and reviewed (sometimes more than once) by whole profile group to ensure consistency of assessment against factor level definitions and other similar profiles.
- Distribution via Staff Side to relevant staff side organisation (i.e. Amicus MHNA) for comment.
- Consideration of comments by profile group and revision of profile.
- Submission of revised profile to Staff Side for agreement to publish. Possible return to profile group with questions or comments from Staff Side for further review.
Now is an appropriate time to determine where we are in the Agenda for Change (AfC) process, how we got there and the next steps to ensure the best possible outcome for Mental Health Nurses.
November 2002 was an important time in the Agenda for Change Job Evaluation process. It was at this stage that Amicus received the first batch of draft profiles for the professions that we represented. To say that we were ‘underwhelmed’ by their contents was an under-statement. Indeed we were incandescent not only because they greatly undervalued our members contribution to providing health care but we seriously began to question how the Mental Health National Service Framework (NSF) could be implemented with a range of other mental health professionals being similarly undervalued. We were worried about the effect that this would have on recruitment and retention of key skilled staff.
Our first stage of the process was to ‘verify’ the contents of the profiles and then ensure that the whole career range had been evaluated. We undertook this work in concert with the Officers of the MHNA and in particular your chair Sharon Duncan. This work proved successful and we were able to improve the Banding outcome for the profile for a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and the CPN manager.
Remember when looking at their contents profiles are NOT job descriptions and are NOT intended to replace organisational job descriptions. They are NOT person specifications, for recruitment purposes, although they may be helpful in drawing up person specifications in the future. Profiles ARE the outcomes of the evaluation of jobs.
At present profiles have been agreed at the following levels:
Mental Health Nurse Qualified
Band5 £17,548 - £22,710
This is essentially the profile for a staff nurses working as part of a team of mental health nurses.
This represents a salary gain for nurses on Whitley Scale D and Scale E. Remember this gain is reduced by £581 for those in receipt of the psychiatric lead.
Community Psychiatric Nurse
Band 6 £20,955 - £28,387.
This profile is on par with other Specialist Practitioner profiles (School Nurse, District Nursing Sister, Health Visitor and Community Midwife), specialist nurses in the acute sector and specialist or Team Leader roles amongst Allied Health Professionals (Physiotherapy, Radiography, Podiatry, Occupational Therapy and Biomedical Science).
This represents a salary gain for nurses on Whitley Scale F and Scale G. Remember this gain is reduced by £581 for those in receipt of the psychiatric lead and by any Discretionary Points. For those on Whitley Scale G with two discretionary points will lose £319 but will be fully protected for 18 months from full implementation of AfC and marked time until their Agenda for Change salary catches up with their Whitley salary. It may also be that colleagues in this position were incorrectly grades in the first place and we need to address how we can use the new evaluation system to ensure that they are correctly Banded. See below.
Community Psychiatric Nurse Manager
Band 7 £25,290 - £33,342.
This represents a salary gain for nurses on Whitley Scale H and for most of Scale I. Remember this gain is reduced by £581 for those in receipt of the psychiatric lead and by any Discretionary Points. For those on the top of Whitley Scale I will lose £99, with one discretionary point will lose £579 and those with two discretionary points £1059. But these losses will be fully protected for 18 months from full implementation of AfC and marked time until their Agenda for Change salary catches up with their Whitley salary. It may also be that colleagues in this position were incorrectly grades in the first place and we need to address how we can use the new evaluation system to ensure that they are correctly Banded. See below.
Whilst we are still in the process of generating new national profiles it is now unlikely that any will be generated in time for the roll out of the scheme in the Early Implementer or pilot sites. The focus of all work with now shift to this arena. The process of Early Implementation may still result in further advances or help mitigate the possible loses where they occur. There is still plenty to play for!
Key to determining a better outcome for all Mental Health Nurses is the matching process and the possible need for local evaluations where a postholder’s role does not match a national profile. Matching guidance has been produced by Amicus.
Each trust will establish a matching panel that will match profiles against nationally agreed profiles. They will do this on an informed basis by using Job Descriptions. So immediate Task One (and possibly Task Two and Three!) is for postholders going through this process to update their Job Descriptions to ensure that they reflect the role they are currently required to undertake rather than the role they were first employed to do.
Next the matching panel will take informed advice from the manager of the section of work being matched and a relevant staff side representative. So immediate Task Two is for the Staff Side representative to seek to meet the manager to determine whether there is a consensus on the correct application of profiles for postholders prior to meeting the matching panel.
The matching panel will determine one of two courses of action. Firstly, whether a match can be made with a nationally agreed profile and the nature of this match. There is an appeal to a second matching panel if you are unhappy with their decision. Secondly, in the absence of a match that the postholder should be referred for a local evaluation. Post matching representatives should also ensure that managers do not try to ‘re-design’ jobs downwards and create Band mix because of cost factors. We have been informed at Secretary of State level that all trusts will receive sufficient funds to fully implement AfC.
So where do we think that some matches cannot be made? We believe that there are many Mental Health Nurses presently on G grade and who are in receipt of discretionary points that meet the criteria for H grade and would if locally evaluated may well come out at Band 7. In these cases we believe that colleagues should oppose matching against the Band 6 CPN profile. Obviously in opposing the match colleagues should provide documentary evidence where this is the case. Colleagues who think they are in this position may like to make reference to the published profile for Highly Specialist Nurse in the First Edition of the Job Evaluation Handbook. Whilst this is an acute sector profile it gives obvious indicators on where colleagues need to be practising at a higher level.
Amicus will be working with the MHNA to produce a model profile for a Band 7 specialist CPN. This can be used to inform your decision on whether to challenge the application of the Band 6 profile and can be used in evidence with the matching panel. The model profile can also be used for the local evaluation process.
Likewise Managers may like to look at whether a new set of generalised profiles constitute a more appropriate match than the CPN Manager profile. These generalised profiles are ‘badged’ as Professional Manager (Clinical, Clinical Technical Service, Social Services) and have been produced Banded at 8a, 8b/c and 8d. The profiles are presently under consultation with Staff Side organisations including Amicus prior to publication.
We believe that the distinguishing feature of these profiles is that whilst the CPN Manager profile refers to a role leading a team of CPNs, these profiles refers to the situation where someone qualified as a CPN may be the manager of a multi-disciplinary team e.g. manager of a whole service area rather than a profession.
Amicus will be working with the MHNA to provide clearer guidance on these differences. Managers who are on Whitley Scale I may want wish to focus on these profiles.
The local evaluation process is exactly the same, including the materials used, as the process outlined in the box above. The Department of Health has produced draft guidance for colleagues in the position of completing a Job Analysis Questionnaire as part of a local evaluation process. This will soon be available.
This is where the proposed system is fairer and more transparent. Under Whitley, Trusts optimised the grades to meet the salary budget. There are colleagues who undoubtedly undertake specialist roles and do not get an H grade. Whilst often we have proved the unfairness of these abuses of the Clinical Grading criteria Trusts retain power to act as final arbiters of our claims and deny our members fair pay