Agenda for Change, The Matching Process & Non-Clinical Jobs

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
22 April 2006

This Health Conference expresses its concern that the implementation of the Job Evaluation Matching Exercise, which is intended to introduce Equal Pay for Equal Value into the Health Service, is in many cases doing the opposite, and that this is happening across the 4 countries, across disciplines and across grades.

Conference is very disappointed at the outcomes of Agenda for Change for many of our low paid members, especially those in the former Administrative and Clerical grades. It is clear that through a lack of clarity over what is meant by ‘equivalent experience’, and a lack of meaningful qualifications in a number of fields, that non-clinical jobs are being disadvantaged.

The basic cause for this is the varying interpretations of the levels under the knowledge factor and the varying uses of the Person Specification in the Matching process. Conference does not accept that equity can be introduced with such significant differing practises.

Conference is concerned that the guidance notes on the knowledge factor, issued on 16th August 2004 are not being given sufficient attention and understanding in the Matching process.

In particular it notes, that Paragraph 1.3 is not being universally applied; namely In other cases, however, the person specification may understate the knowledge actually needed to carry out the job, because it is set at a recruitment level on the expectation that the rest of the required knowledge will be acquired in-house through on the job training and experience.

Conference emphasises that to do this exercise correctly, a combination of developmental experience and other forms of training should be given full consideration as well or formal qualifications. The person specification should describe a post holder who is fully conversant with the range of duties associated with the post, including those needed to pass through the second K.S.F. gateway, and including any development of the post undertaken by the post holder in conjunction with their manager and employer.

Staff are regularly recruited and trained up within an organisation to match the real needs of a post, so there is a clear step in knowledge between the recruitment level JD and that for the developed role.

Conference is further concerned that notwithstanding the above, Matching panels quite naturally have gone through their own learning process as a result of experience and that this may have doubly disadvantaged those post holders matched early in the process:

·By matching panels, in the early stages, not fully understanding the guidance notes

·By the 3 months review date having passed by the time other results had been published with whom to be compared.

Conference also notes that the commitment for an open national data base of results has not materialised, and that the withdrawal of funding for the AFC Project in some parts of England means that external consistency checking, so important in establishing equity, will become a myth before it is a reality.

Whilst appreciating that on a local basis many of these concerns can be individually addressed through the Appeals/Grievance Procedures. Conference resolves that these concerns are of such significance that a four-nation resolution is required, and that time limits should immediately be withdrawn to avoid potential discrimination, and instructs the Health Service Executive to ensure that the NHS Staff Council issues national guidance namely:

1)Equivalent experience must be properly recognised.

2)Job Description and Person Specifications must describe the fully developed post – holder.

3)Where either of these criteria has not been met, the job should be resubmitted for matching.

In addition to this further guidance should be issued on Factor 2 to clarify the meaning of equivalent experience between each of the 8 levels.