RepsDirect No 265 - 19 May 2004



From
Head of Health, Gail Cartmail General Secretary, Derek Simpson

Scotland - SPRIG Agenda for Change Report

From Scotland, a recent meeting of SPRIG - the Scottish Pay Reference & Implementation Group, set up to advise the Minister for Health on Agenda for Change - reached the following conclusions:

1. Organisational Change - SPRIG has confirmed again its recognition of the principles of protection applying to the Agenda for Change process although the Minister for Health has not yet agreed to the full no detriment provisions of the Organisational Change Policy. Staff in Scotland will therefore "mark time" indefinitely after 2005.

2. UK Statement on Practice Matching - the implications of the recent statement - to effectively roll out the preparation process beyond the pilot projects in Scotland - will be taken into account in the training courses that are being developed.

3. CAJE - the tender for the computer-aided job evaluation package is out and it is hoped that the procurement process will be completed by August. It is clear already, however, that it is going to be very tight for this to be up and running by October 1st.

4. Variation Orders - it was confirmed that there was no absolute embargo on such Orders in Scotland - especially now that we have no Trusts - but that they are not encouraged. Further discussions were taking place and legal advice was being sought on the precise powers of NHS Boards with regard to transferred staff.

5. UK Issues - the meeting was informed that there were a number of discussions being arranged around the unsocial hours issue, with the possibility that the provisions in the Agenda for Change package may well be amended as a result of the current review. The existing provisions were clearly creating difficulties in the Early Implementers down south. A further look was also being taken at the profiles for Admin and Clerical Staff, which were felt not to give sufficient credit for experience. Equally, additional work was being undertaken on Finance and HR job profiles. All this information will be fed into the review.

6. SOR - the Society of Radiographers confirmed that they would be holding a second ballot of their membership - after the rejection of the Agenda for Change package last year - and would be convening a recall Conference on September 3. The ballot this time would offer members the choice of either accepting the package or rejecting it again and deciding what action to take as a result.

7. Training Courses - the dates are out for the Training for Trainers courses, which are already oversubscribed. All NHS Boards had been covered by the starters events. Two staff members were working on training for the Knowledge for Skills Framework. A letter would be sent to all Chief Executives by the Joint Chairpersons of SPRIG, updating them on what was happening.

8. Terms and Conditions - hundreds of e-mails were arriving at the Pay Modernisation Unit seeking advice on the harmonisation of terms and conditions. As a result it was decided to set up a Guidance Group from members of SPRIG who would be responsible for co-ordinating and ensuring the consistency of advice issued from the Centre. For your information, I am a member of that Group.

9. Pilot Projects - reports from the four Pilot Projects in Scotland have already been circulated. All Pilots are aiming to complete the matching process by the end of June. There was a discussion on funding for Special Health Boards where there was no set formula in terms of the allocation of money. Further representations will be made at the next meeting with the Minister for Health for any additional allocation of which is now necessary to prepare and deliver Agenda for Change. A figure was mentioned from down south that the cost of the matching panels was working out at 560 per day.

10. Work Programme - copies are available on request and a final version will be prepared - after comments have been submitted - for the meeting in May.


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