NHS Job Evaluation Handbook - Second Edition

This handbook outlines the new Job Evaluation Scheme purposely developed for the National Health Service as part of the new pay system, Agenda for Change

NHS Job Evaluation Handbook

10. National Protocol for Local Evaluation

1.1 The jobs of most health service employees will not need to be evaluated locally, because they will be matched to national evaluation profiles ( see Section 8). The jobs to be evaluated locally are:

(1) Jobs for which there is no national evaluation profile, because they are unique or significantly different wherever they occur. This is likely to apply to many senior managerial posts, administrative posts and to many jobs in specialist areas, such as IT, or public relations.

(2) Jobs where an attempt has been made to match them to one or more national profiles, but this has not proved possible. This is most likely to apply to unusual and/or very specialist healthcare and non-healthcare roles.

1.2 Local evaluation is much more time consuming than matching so it is important to be certain that a local evaluation is necessary before embarking on this route. For those jobs which do need to be evaluated locally the nationally agreed steps are set out below. Detailed procedures on how to implement these steps are to be agreed locally in partnership. Additional guidance on some aspects of this protocol is provided at the end of this Section.

2 Nationally agreed steps for local evaluation:

2.1 Step 1: Job Analysis Questionnaire completion: the jobholder completes the Job Analysis Questionnaire (JAQ) as far as possible (in either paper-based or computerised form), seeking assistance from line manager, supervisor or colleagues. This draft document is supplied in advance of interview to the job analysts.

The outcome of this step is a draft JAQ.

2.2 Step 2: Job analysis interview: the jobholder is interviewed by a team of two trained job analysts, one representing management, and one representing staff. The aim of the interview is to check, complete, improve on and verify the draft JAQ by, for example:

  • Checking that the JAQ instructions have been correctly followed.
  • Filling in information and examples where required questions have not been answered or have been inadequately answered.
  • Checking closed question answers against the examples given and the statement of job duties.

The outcome of this step is an analysed and amended draft JAQ.

2.3 Step 3: Signing off: the amended draft JAQ is checked by the line manager or supervisor and then signed off by the jobholder, line manager or supervisor and both job analysts. If there are any differences of view between the jobholder and line manager over the information on the JAQ, this should be resolved, with the assistance of the job analysts, if necessary, by reference to factual records, diaries or equivalent. Any more fundamental disagreements, e.g. over the job duties or responsibilities, should be very rare and should be dealt with under existing local procedures including if necessary the grievance procedure. The outcome of this stage is an analysed, verified and signed off JAQ.

2.4 Step 4: Evaluation of JAQ: the agreed and signed JAQ is considered by a joint evaluation panel typically (three to five members) and the computerised evaluation input boxes completed.

This will involve:

  • Validating the closed question answers against the examples and statement of job duties. This should normally be a straightforward, virtually automatic process.
  • Analysing and evaluating the closed and open ended information on those factors where 'automatic' evaluation is not possible.
  • Only where necessary, seeking further information from the job analysts and/or jobholder, where the information is inadequate. At the extreme, this could involve sending a badly completed and/or analysed JAQ back to the jobholder and job analysts to repeat Steps 2 and 3 above. More commonly, it might involve asking the jobholder or line manager for a specific piece of information to resolve a query at the border between question categories or factor levels.
  • Checking the provisional evaluation for consistency on both a factor by factor and total score basis against both national profiles and other local evaluations.

The validated factor analyses/evaluations are input factor by factor into the computerised system for evaluation, scoring and weighting. Any 'alert' messages on potentially inconsistent factor assessments thrown up by the computer system need to be checked by the panel.

The evaluation panel must complete all relevant boxes including those requiring job evidence. The computerised JAQ is the complete record of the process, to be made available to the jobholder in case of query.

The outcome of this stage is a factor by factor evaluation of the job, together with a total weighted score and an explanatory rationale.

2.5 Step 5: Local evaluations should be checked for consistency with national profiles and other local evaluations on an ongoing basis and regularly by job evaluation leads or other designated consistency checkers ( see Section 11). Any apparent anomalies should be referred back to the original panel for reconsideration.

The outcome of this stage is a factor by factor evaluation of the job, together with a total weighted score and an explanatory rationale.

2.6 Step 6: If the postholder is dissatisfied about the outcome of the local evaluation, they may request a review. In order to trigger this request the postholder must provide details of where they disagree with the initial evaluation.

2.7 Step 7: A panel comprising a majority of members different from the first panel will re-evaluate the post. It is for the postholder to decide whether to use the original questionnaire or resubmit a second questionnaire, subject to the validation processes described above.

2.8 Step 8: The panel will confirm their evaluation decision. The postholder has no right of appeal beyond this second evaluation. If the postholder believes the process was incorrect they may pursue this through the local grievance procedure. They may not pursue a grievance about the outcome of the grading decision.

3 Additional guidance on local evaluations

3.1 Who should complete the JAQ?

Where the job is unique within the employing organisation, then the single jobholder must obviously complete the JAQ. Where a number of jobholders carry out the same job being locally evaluated, then there are a number of options for completion:

(1) Jobholders can select one of their number to complete the JAQ and be interviewed by job analysts: the resulting JAQ is circulated to other jobholders for comment both before the interview and, if there are changes as a result of the job analysis interview, before being signed off.

(2) Jobholders can work together to complete the JAQ and then select one of their number to represent them at interview with the job analysts. This option works best where jobholders work together in an office or other work location. It is effective, but can be time consuming.

(3) Where jobholders work in different locations, an option is for one jobholder from each location to complete the JAQ and then meet together to produce a single JAQ and select a representative for interview.

3.2 What is expected of a jobholder selected to complete a JAQ?

Jobholders know more about the demands of their jobs than anyone else. The role of the jobholder in a local evaluation is as a source of comprehensive and accurate information about the demands of their job.

The emphasis is on the job, not the employee, so it is appropriate, and indeed recommended, that the selected jobholder consults others who have knowledge of the job when completing the questionnaire, for example:

  • Supervisor and/or line manager: this should be done during the course of completion, as well as after the analysis, so that any differences of view can be resolved as early as possible.
  • Colleagues who do the same or a very similar job.
  • Colleagues who do a different job but work closely with the jobholder.
  • Staff representative(s) for the jobholder's area of work.

It may be helpful to also refer to any job documentation, especially if it is agreed as up to date and accurate, for example:

  • Job description (jobholder's or that of a colleague doing the same job, if prepared more recently).
  • Job specification (usually prepared for recruitment purposes).
  • Organisation chart.
  • Induction materials (if they include any description of the work).
  • Departmental reports (if they include any description of the jobs).

3.3 What is a job for the purposes of local evaluation?

For evaluation purposes, the job to be described consists of:

  • Those duties actually carried out by individual jobholder(s). The last year is generally a good guide on what should be taken into account as part of the job. The job is not an amalgam of what the jobholder might be required to do in other circumstances, nor of what the jobholder's colleagues do. The jobholder is treated for evaluation purposes as being typical of the group of jobholders they represent.
  • Those duties acknowledged by the jobholder and their line manager, either explicitly (through you having been asked to undertake the duties) or implicitly (through not being told not to undertake particular duties), to be part of the job. These may be more, or less, than the duties listed on a formal job description.

3.4 What is the role of the job analysts?

The role of the job analysts in the evaluation process is:

  • To ensure that the JAQ is produced to agreed standards, equality requirements and time scale.
  • To ensure all parties satisfied with the job analysis process.
  • To check and test the information provided by the jobholder to ensure accuracy and clarity.
  • To check that the JAQ instructions have been followed correctly.

If the JAQ is inaccurate or incomplete, the evaluation will be too!

The purpose of the job analysis interview is to:

  • Ensure that full and accurate information is available for the evaluation panel.
  • Provide an opportunity for the jobholder to explain their job and be asked face to face questions.
  • Increase understanding between those involved - jobholder, line manager, staff representative, job analysts and evaluators.
  • Allow information to be clarified and checked.

3.5 Dealing with new and changed jobs

One of the aims of Agenda for Change is to allow trusts and other NHS organisations to operate more flexibly by developing roles in partnership. Detailed procedures need to be agreed locally. This note deals with the principles of how changed and new jobs, once agreed, should be dealt with in terms of the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme.

3.6 Changed jobs

Jobs change all the time. Only significant changes are likely to affect matching or evaluation. When a job is identified as having changed significantly, a decision needs to be made as to whether it is likely to match a profile (not necessarily the one to which it may have matched before the change). If so, it should be put through the Matching Procedure ( see Section 8) in the normal way.

If it is agreed that the changed job will not match any of the national profiles, or matching is unsuccessful, then it should be put through the Local Evaluation Procedure ( see Section 10) in the normal way. However, it may be sensible to delay completion of the JAQ until such time as the changes have 'bedded down', with agreement for back-dating of any pay increase as appropriate.

3.7 New jobs

It is standard job evaluation practice for proposed new jobs to be matched or evaluated as a desktop exercise, in order that a provisional pay band can be determined for recruitment purposes. This exercise should be carried out by experienced matching or evaluation panel members, who will be advised by appropriate management and staff representatives from the relevant sphere of work.

Once the new job has been in operation for a reasonable period of time so that the jobholder is able to provide comprehensive information, then the job should be matched or evaluated in accordance with the appropriate procedure.

New jobs which are likely to become commonly occurring across the health service, but which do not match any of the published profiles, should be locally evaluated and then referred to NHS Staff Council for consideration as to whether a national profile should be produced. If a national profile is subsequently agreed at a different pay band from the initial local evaluation, then banding for the individuals concerned will need to be retrospectively adjusted.

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