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Procedure for the Grading of Professional Services Posts

1. Introduction

This document sets out the arrangements for the grading of new and occupied posts for professional services staff at UCL. Academic, Research and Teaching positions are subject to the Academic and Research promotion procedure at

The grading scheme and associated documentation has been agreed in partnership with UCL's recognised trade unions, Unite (formerly Amicus), UCU (formerly AUT) and UNISON.  UCL is committed to the principles of equal pay for work of equal value. The grading system is therefore based upon the evaluation of the duties and responsibilities attached to a post, using the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) scheme, and not upon the personal merits of individual post-holders. The grading of posts will be undertaken by a grading panel consisting of trained Role Analysts.

Note: Grading requests by means of a Job Description Outline (JDO) need only be submitted for new roles where no same/similar role has been previously evaluated.  Requests for grade reviews of occupied posts should only be requested for posts that have changed significantly in terms of the duties and responsibilities involved. See Annex 1 for guidance on situations where a JDO may be unnecessary.

All grading requests and grading appeals should be submitted via the online Job Evaluation Database 

2. Grading of new posts or amended vacant posts

New posts must be evaluated by a grading panel and a grade determined prior to advertising. For new posts a JDO is required and must be submitted via the JeD.

This is also required for vacant posts where there has been a significant change in the duties.

3. Grading Reviews of occupied posts

A grading review will be undertaken where a post has changed significantly in terms of the duties and responsibilities involved. Posts will not normally be considered for a grading review if they have been submitted for review on two previous occasions within a two year period.  Requests for grading reviews can be made at any time of the year by the Head of Department/Director (HoD)*  submitting a JDO via the JeD No additional documentation or materials such as examples of work or testimonials may be submitted.

Note: *The Head of Department is a generic UCL title for those who report directly to the  Faculty Deans and includes Divisional and Institute Directors for Biomedical Sciences and Associate Deans for Life Sciences.

4. Direct Route Requests for Grading Reviews

A member of staff may make a direct route application for a grading review if they believe that their post has changed significantly but the case for a grading review is not supported by their HoD.  In such cases the HoD will be required to verify that the information given on the JDO is an accurate reflection of the duties and responsibilities of the post.  The individual will need to ask the HoD to submit the verified JDO via JeD.

5. Timeline

Grading requests for new jobs are carried out on a weekly basis.  Requests received by noon on a Tuesday will be evaluated within five working days and the outcome will be provided within this time frame.

Grading review requests for occupied posts with significant changes in duties are considered monthly.  Grading review requests received by noon on 28th month will be considered in the next month and the outcome will be notified by 12th of following month.  (For example a request received on 27th March would be considered in April and the HoD would be advised of the outcome by the 12th May).

Requests will be considered in order of receipt.  In the event of a panel having insufficient time to evaluate all the grading requests, any outstanding ones will be referred to the next monthly meeting.

6.  The Grading Panels

Grading panel for new/vacant posts

All new posts will be considered by a grading panel consisting of up to three HR Role Analysts.  A panel meets once a week in order to be responsive to the recruitment needs of Departments.

Grading review panel for occupied posts

The grading review panel will consist of three trained Role Analysts usually consisting of a HR Role Analyst, a Faculty/Division nominee Role Analyst and a trade union nominee Role Analyst where possible. The panel will evaluate the post using the JDO submitted. In exceptional circumstances, the panel may also wish to interview the post-holder.

No panel member will consider an application for a grading review for a member of staff in their own department. (Panels for HR posts will include a maximum of one HR Role Analyst.  The panel will not be chaired by the HR Role Analyst).

If a grading review does not result in a change of grade the post holder will be advised of their right to appeal.

7.  Appeals Procedure

New/vacant posts

A HoD or DA may seek feedback regarding the outcome of a grading request by sending an email to  Feedback on the outcome will be provided.

If a HoD is not happy with the feedback they may lodge a formal appeal statement via the JeD. This appeal statement should set out the grounds of appeal making reference to the JDO.  A different grading panel will review the grade by evaluating the original JDO alongside the appeal statement.  The decision of the grading appeal panel is final.

Occupied posts

If a role holder is unhappy with the outcome of the review of their post, they may request a meeting with a member of the grading review panel.  An informal meeting will be set up to explain the rationale for the decision.

If following the meeting the role holder feels they have grounds to appeal they can instigate a formal appeal.  The JDO will be re-evaluated by a grading appeal panel consisting of five trained analysts.  This will usually include a HR Role Analyst, two Faculty/Division nominees Role Analyst and two trade union representatives Role Analysts where possible, none of whom would have been involved in the original evaluation of the post.

The appellant will be notified of the outcome of the appeal by the 12th of the month following the month the JDO was re-evaluated.  Where the outcome of the appeal affects the grade of the post, the new grade will be effective from the first day of the month after the original JDO was received in the HR Advisory team.  The decision of the Grading Appeal Panel is final.

8.  Further Guidance

Guidance on completing a JDO is included in the  "Job evaluation and  Assimilation to the single spine" document of 2005 and is available at: 

A word version of the JDO is available here for optional drafting of contents for subsequent copying into the JeD.

9.  Monitoring
Anonymous equal opportunity data will be analysed in accordance with UCL’s equal opportunities policies.

Human Resources Division   April 2011

Annex 1

Guidance regarding grading requests where we do not require a JDO

General principles

JDOs only need to be submitted for roles that have not been previously evaluated.  Where the same or very similar role exists elsewhere in the Department, Faculty or wider UCL, a new role may be assigned to the applicable JDO.

Grading reviews of occupied posts should only be requested for posts where there has been a significant change in duties and/or scope of responsibilities.
Job descriptions can be reviewed at appraisal.  If a HoD/Director or role holder is unclear whether duties have changed significantly they should consult the HR Consultant for their Department.

Note: To assign a role to an evaluated JDO for a new / vacant post or occupied post  HoDs must submit the new/revised Job Description and Person Specification and copy of applicable JDO and its HERA reference via Role Analysts will consider whether the request is appropriate by weekly or monthly grading panels for respectively new and occupied posts.

How to determine if a change to a job description is significant

The following are general guides:

Changes are not deemed significant if they only relate to a change in job title, manager or department and duties generally remain the same.

The replacement of a process or addition of similar process(es) of comparable responsibility and/or complexity is unlikely to result in a change of grade. For example, coordinating new or different modules, courses, programmes, events etc.

Changes in the scope of responsibility which have a greater impact across the department, Faculty, School or UCL may lead to a change in grade. For example, change in remit from an operational management role to a strategic Faculty leader.

A new requirement to manage/supervise staff may not result in a grade increase especially if the reason for the new direct reports was volume of work which would be shared.

A new requirement to manage function teams of at least 4 or more staff or regularly manage and lead project teams may result in a grade increase but the requirement to manage more direct reports or projects would probably not.