What is job evaluation?

The NHS Job Evaluation Scheme (JES) underpins the Agenda for Change pay structure, it ensures equal pay for work of equal value. It is a way of ranking jobs by knowledge and skills, responsibility and effort. Every job description that is created for Agenda for Change staff must go through a process of either job matching or job evaluation. 

The majority of jobs will be matched to a nationally evaluated job profile, the job matching process assigns a pay band to a job. Where a job cannot be matched to a profile local evaluation will need to be carried out.  

Both job matching and job evaluation should be done in partnership by a panel of employer and staff side representatives employed in the NHS Trust/Health Board. Panel members must have been trained in the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme (JES). 

The RCM is a member of the NHS Staff Council's national Job Evaluation Group (JEG). This group is responsible for keeping the JES up to date. It includes the development of new job profiles, updating existing job profiles, ensuring that trainers and the nationally approved training courses are up to date and maintaining advice and information on the implementation of the scheme. The group has produced lots of resources that you can access here 

Why is job evaluation important and who benefits?

Good job evaluation practice means: 

  • Staff are treated fairly and equitably
  • Pay discrimination is removed
  • Positive partnership working between trade unions and employers

Which leads to

  • Better staff engagement and ultimately better patient care

The RCM supports the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme, but it requires investment and capacity building. There has been a lack of investment over a number of years and the RCM is calling for this to be addressed. We know that where staff have challenged their banding and asked for job descriptions to be updated that this has met with significant push back and where a re-banding application has been requested the process has been protracted. Regular meaningful appraisals should include revisiting job descriptions to ensure that they are fit for purpose and where necessary are updated to reflect the work that is being done.

We encourage RCM members to get involved in job evaluation and consider discussing through your local RCM branch what is involved in becoming a local job evaluation practitioners. NHS Staff Council training is delivered in partnership and you can find out more about the training that is provided here. If you would like more information please contact Derren Branson, Employment Relations Advisor [email protected]

Job Evaluation Group Nursing and Midwifery Profile Review

JEG are currently reviewing the nationally evaluated nursing and midwifery profiles, this follows a request from the RCM and the RCN. As well as being a member of JEG the RCM is submitting evidence to the review and ensuring that members and other stakeholders are fully engaged. The aim is to ensure that the updated suite of profiles are fit for purpose. That means that the suite can be applied effectively to all the different and varied midwifery and support worker roles. The current profiles haven’t been reviewed for many years and there is a recognition that roles have evolved and new roles have developed in maternity services.

JEG have now finished the evidence gathering stage of the review. You can see the RCM’s evidence here and the report from JEG here.

JEG task and finish groups will now start reviewing the profiles and also the profile labels and job statements to ensure they reflect current clinical practice and deployment. The aim of this will be to show the differentiation between the bands and provide greater narrative examples of the factor levels (the non-bold). Additional information is also being requested to consider the need for additional profiles or signposting to other profiles for some of the highly specialist roles that have been identified as more difficult to match.

The RCM is concerned that the increased visibility of job evaluation due to the nursing and midwifery profile review may increase demand locally for job description reviews which trusts and boards cannot meet. These reviews and re-banding exercises should continue throughout the review but we acknowledge the increased pressure on systems.

Useful information on the clarification between band 2 and 3 support worker roles

In July 2021 JEG, through the NHS Staff Council published minor changes in wording to clarify the differences between band 2 and band 3 healthcare support worker profiles. This makes clear that the band 2 profile is concerned with personal care and the band 3 profile is concerned with a limited range of clinical tasks carried out under supervision. Information from JEG can be found here and from NHS Employers can be found here.

Useful guidance from JEG on factor 2 (knowledge, training and experience) of the job evaluation handbook

This guidance published in February 2024 provides additional information for job matching panels on applying factor 2 which is the most heavily weighted factor in the Job Evaluation Scheme. It explains that panels should take into account all information set out in the job description, person specification and any additional information provided and must not make assumptions about the requirements of the role.

Job descriptions are usually the primary source of factor 2 evidence and a good job description will explain the different type of knowledge, training and experience required for the role. Job matching panellists should challenge when person specifications overstate the level of formal qualifications required when compared to the actual demands of the job to assure themselves that the  requirement is warranted for the job and not included for recruitment/shortlisting purposes or to influence the banding outcome. Competency based frameworks, professional career frameworks, professional bodies’ career pathways or descriptors should not be used for job matching. NHS England recently published the revised MSW Competency, Education and Career Development Framework and Implementation Toolkit, this will support Heads of Midwifery to understand and implement MSW roles. Any changes to job descriptions must still go through the relevant job matching process however and guidance from JEG outlined on this webpage applies.

RCM FOI 2019

In 2019 the RCM conducted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to NHS trusts and health boards across the UK after we were made aware over a number of years by our maternity support worker (MSW) members that they felt they were inappropriately pay banded and performing inappropriate tasks.

We asked trusts and health boards to send us job descriptions and the accompanying job matching information for MSWs in order to establish whether each job description had been through the job matching process and to examine what roles and responsibilities feature on MSW job descriptions.

We also reviewed a random sample of the band 2 job descriptions, they included tasks like feeding new-borns through their nose, observations on women such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse and observations on new-born babies. These tasks require a level three qualification or equivalent in order to be carried out safely by MSWs but this is often not a requirement in the job descriptions or person specifications.

The evidence we received showed just why job evaluation is so important.

The RCM Job Evaluation toolkit

The RCM Job Evaluation toolkit is a resource for RCM members, activists and branches. It contains the information you need to help you understand the Job evaluation process and identify and challenge inappropriate banding.

Download the RCM Job Evaluation toolkit 
Read the MSW pay banding and job evaluation blog