Defending Agenda for Change

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2007 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that as we move onwards from Agenda for Change (AFC) implementation and assimilation, we are starting to lose the valuable skills of staff side job evaluators, job matchers and KSF advisors.

As local staff sides (and in particular the participation of UNISON representatives), we are increasingly finding ourselves with diminishing resources resulting in a loss of knowledge on the processes of Job Evaluation, Job Matching and the KSF. This is primarily caused by many AFC representatives ceasing their involvement, or just moving on thus leaving this vital skills gap in many organisations.

This conference is increasingly concerned at the way in which certain NHS Trusts have sought to unilaterally amend or move away from the Agenda for Change Agreement.

In particular, we are aware of

1.Foundation Trusts seeking to ballot staff on alternative terms and conditions packages

2.Many Trusts, faced with financial deficits, have sought to re-profile jobs at lower pay bands to save money, cynically ignoring recently matched or evaluated jobs and pay bands outcomes

3.Similarly, those Trusts, in many instances, have sought to change, often unilaterally, terms and conditions including payment of overtime, unsocial hours payments and other substantive parts of the Handbook

4.In many areas the systematic application of the KSF has ceased, losing all the benefits of the agreed development process and enabling staff to gain promotion and develop within their jobs

UNISON believes that, unless the agreement is reinforced and monitored across the NHS many of the gains promulgated by the Agenda for change agreement will be lost and we will, again, be back in a chaotic system where confusion reigns.

Many Trusts faced with large scale cuts in jobs and services caused by financial deficits will be in a poor position to reconfigure services if an equality based joint approach to job evaluation and development of staff through the KSF is not in place.

Conference calls on the Service Group Executive to:

a) take necessary steps to defend the application of the principles of Agenda for Change including the Job evaluation scheme and KSF to all NHS employers including Foundation Trusts;

b)To again include within the DOH Performance Management Framework, Agenda for Change (including the KSF) in particular the mechanisms Trusts have put in place to maintain a Joint approach to Job evaluation

c)Joint monitoring to be put in place at SHA level involving Trades Unions on the continued observance of the Agenda for Change agreement

d)Support members challenging attacks by employers on the Agenda for Change agreement by all legal means including lawful industrial action where appropriate.

e)through their representatives on the national Staff Council to ensure that the principles of partnership working contained in the AFC national agreement are maintained, and that all NHS employers are instructed to have in place, contingency plans to maintain the required numbers of properly trained staff representatives and management side representatives to undertake future Job Matching, Job Evaluation and KSF training

f)initiate the re-design of specific training programmes, building on any existing course materials, to be made available as a resource for representatives and branches for training in Job Evaluation, Job Matching and the KSF. This will ensure that we are able to continue to represent staff sides in the process of evaluating new and existing posts, thereby ensuring that jobs are valued in an open, fair and transparent way and that job are not devalued or eroded over time as a result of financial pressures.