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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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NHS toolkit launched to better link staff pay to performance


An online toolkit has been launched to help place more emphasis on linking pay to performance in NHS organisations.

The resource, by NHS Employers, will provide advice, support and best practice examples, and forms part of the Agenda for Change (AfC) framework, which was introduced in 2004 and covers one million NHS staff.

Changes were made last year to AfC to allow greater flexibility when linking pay and performance, as there have been issues with this in the past. Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said it is now important to use the consistency and flexibility provided by AfC.

“I know employers throughout the NHS want to deliver the best possible care to patients. We all know high quality appraisals are essential in a safe and modern NHS and this toolkit will help show how to better link pay increments to that process – something that historically has been an issue.

“Staff want to be rewarded for the work they do and of course it’s really important we deliver this as objectively as possible.”

The toolkit can be tailored to the needs of each individual NHS organisation, and offers guidance on areas such as:

  • Making sure that the changes are part of the overall workforce strategy improving services to patients and not implemented in isolation.
  • Engaging early and work in partnership with trade union colleagues.
  • Reassuring staff that the changes are about pushing forward effective performance management and accountability within the organisation.
  • Listening to staff, seeking their feedback and input, keeping the channels of communications open and acting on that feedback.

NHS organisations that have already taken steps to better link performance to pay have reported many benefits, including increased staff motivation, engagement, morale and retention, cost savings, improved performance management processes and fewer staff on formal disciplinary measures.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell