HEALTH SERVICE JOB EVALUATION SCHEME
Your questions answered
Last amended 7th September 2016
Download a copy of the job evaluation application form here
The job evaluation scheme for health service clerical, administrative and management staff reopened on 1st September 2016 after IMPACT members gave a huge endorsement to industrial action over the issue. The Department of Health sanctioned the reactivation of the scheme following intensive talks between the union and the HSE on foot of that ballot.
IMPACT has already trained teams of assessors, and the union believes that the first job evaluations could take place from October this year. The union won agreement in principle to reopen the scheme – unilaterally abandoned by management at the height of the economic crash – during last year’s negotiations on the Lansdowne Road agreement.
This document answers some questions you might have about the reactivated scheme.
Is job evaluation a performance assessment?
No. Job evaluation schemes are not the same as performance assessments. They assess the skills and responsibilities required of a particular post, rather than the individual performing it.
What grades are covered by the HSE scheme?
The agreement covers clerical and administrative grades III to VI, and related grades. A grade VI post holder can apply for upgrading under the scheme). To apply, a post holder must have been in the post for two years.
Will the scheme be extended to other grades?
Right now it’s only open to clerical and administrative grades III to VI, and related grades. But IMPACT says the scheme is capable of being applied to more senior administrative and management grades, as well as professional and technical staff. Health employers have agreed to discuss this.
Does my line manager need to sign the application form?
Yes. Your line manager must verify that the description of duties expressed on the form is accurate.
How long will the process take?
There’s a significant backlog because the scheme has been closed since 2008. Therefore, it’s impossible to assess how long the process of evaluating a particular job will take. IMPACT is providing a number of assessors for the (joint union-management) evaluation teams in order to clear the backlog as quickly as possible.
Initially, priority will be given to applications which were in the system at the time the scheme closed in 2008, applications which were referred to job evaluation by a third party process (eg the Labour Court), and applications which were referred to job evaluation through the process of regularising long-term acting positions. IMPACT is also seeking to include clerical officers as a priority category.
Who conducts the evaluation?
Independent evaluation teams consisting of one HSE representative and one IMPACT representative. Evaluations are usually carried out using a combination of the application form and a face-to-face discussion with the post holder. In some cases the application form alone may suffice.
Can I get assistance when filling out the form?
IMPACT will be rolling out a training programme to branches over the next two months in order to ensure that local IMPACT reps can assist you when you make an application.
What information should I include on the form?
The application form is very structured and targeted. It covers nine areas of competency and knowledge. Applicants should list their duties and answer all the questions, which are designed to map the duties onto the competency and knowledge in each category.
Am I guaranteed an upgrading if I apply for job evaluation?
No. Posts will only be upgraded if the assessors agree that it should be.
By how much can my post be upgraded?
The evaluation assessment awards a post a total number of points. This is based on the skills, responsibilities, qualifications and other requirements necessary to carry out that specific job. Each grade in the structure has its own points range, and the evaluated job is matched to the correct grade. Some job evaluations will result in no upgrading. Where upgradings occur, they will most commonly move a job up one grade. But it is possible to move it up two grades if the points are sufficient.
How will my post be filled if it’s upgraded through job evaluation?
It has been agreed that staff who have been in post for four years or more at the time of a job evaluation will stay in the position if the post is upgraded. If you have been in the position for less than four years, the post will be filled by competition.
Do my terms and conditions change if my post is upgraded?
Appointment to an upgraded post is treated as a promotion. The salary would increase, but any red-circled conditions (like annual leave and working hours) would be set aside and replaced by the new standard conditions under the public service agreements. In some circumstances, a post holder could end up working longer hours or having less leave if their post is upgraded.
If my post was upgraded would I receive back pay?
Generally, the effective date for upgrading is the date when the evaluation team certifies that the post should be upgraded. There would be no back pay in such cases. However, the effective date can be the subject of negotiation and agreement if an evaluation has taken place as a result of a referral by a third party.
Will my application still be considered if I move position during the process?
No. An evaluation can only be processed for an existing post holder.
My current position is split between two services. How do I reflect this in the form?
A complete list of duties comprising of both elements of the post should be listed on the form.
When will I know if I have been successful?
The evaluation team will generally certify the outcome of an evaluation, and confirm this outcome to the employer, within a couple of weeks of the evaluation.
Can I appeal if I am unsuccessful?
A request for a review can be facilitated if the process was flawed or if important factors were overlooked.