Unlike academic staff at UCL, who are considered for promotion to a higher grade on the basis of their personal impact and achievements in the discipline, professional services staff are appointed to work at a specific grade. Professional services jobs are placed in a grade on the basis of the duties and responsibilities that are required to be undertaken by UCL. For a professional services job to be re-graded there needs to be a significant change in the duties and responsibilities that are required of the job.
All professional services jobs at UCL are graded in accordance with the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) scheme. This is designed to ensure transparency and consistency in the way that jobs are evaluated and rewarded. Jobs are graded by assessing the duties and responsibilities of each job, as detailed in a job description. While some new jobs will be unique and require a new and individual job description to be completed, a database of job descriptions is available for reference and matching purposes. A blank job description template is also available:
Jobs will be assigned to a grade on the basis of completed job descriptions when:
- they are created as new jobs; or,
- the duties and responsibilities required to be undertaken to perform a job change significantly
Faculty Managers or Heads of Professional Services (HPS) are accountable for the approval of all job descriptions although responsibility for this may be delegated to other managers within the applicable area. Departmental Administrators (or staff with equivalent responsibilities) will be able to advise on local arrangements.
Normally, a member of staff and their line manager will agree when the duties and responsibilities have changed significantly with the Faculty Manager (FM) /HPS and for the need of a new job description and a grading check.
Where an agreement to check the grading of a post is not achieved with both the line manager and FM/HPS, a member of staff may seek a grade check without the agreement of their line manager or FM/HPS. This is referred to as the direct route, although the line manager must review and confirm the accuracy of any proposed job description changes.
In all cases below, where the grading check results in a higher grade being allocated to an agreed job description, the post itself may not be re-graded as a result. The line manager can decide that some higher level duties should be removed or re-allocated to ensure no member of staff is being asked to take on responsibilities above their current grade. This might happen, for instance, if the budget available would not cover the additional costs of a regrading, and additional duties have been taken on by a role holder in an unplanned way.
To ensure a consistent format, the standard job description template should always be used. This template contains an annex for additional information, useful for grading purposes. This annex should be completed where the job description itself does not contain the detail requested in the annex. All job descriptions should include a person specification and an organisational chart, outlining how the role fits into the wider area.
The process for grading professional services jobs at UCL is outlined below.
Grading process for new jobs
The grading process for new jobs outlined below need only be followed for new roles which have not been previously assigned to a grade.
- The person responsible for recruiting to the new job (“the recruiting manager”) should ensure that they have the necessary local approvals to create a new position. In faculties, approvals will include consultation with the Faculty Manager and in Professional Services this may include consultation with the Divisional Manager or Departmental Administrator. In all cases appropriate written financial approval must be gained.
- Once local approval has been obtained, the recruiting manager should either use an existing job description (JD) as a template, or draft a new JD using the blank template. The JD should outline the duties and responsibilities required to perform the job. Once drafted, the recruiting manager should compare the JD with an existing agreed and evaluated JD from the database. Based on this comparison the recruiting manager should determine a recommended grade for the job. HR Business Partnering can provide advice on the development of the JD and the appropriate grade.
- The recruiting manager should submit the draft JD along with the recommended grade, and any existing JD with which the role has been matched, to the FM or HPS (or delegate) for consideration and approval. Such applications for approval should be copied to HoDs in academic faculties or relevant departmental contacts in Professional Services.
- Following approval of the draft job description and recommended grade by the FM or HPS (or delegate), the recruiting manager should submit the approved JD and recommended grade to their HR Business Partnering contact, along with the JD that the role has been matched to, if applicable.
- The HR Business Partnering contact will review the approved JD and confirm a recommended grade to the recruiting manager. The HR Business Partnering contact will seek to resolve any necessary amendments to the job description or grade informally with the recruiting manager. The recruiting manager is responsible for obtaining local and financial approval for any amended job description or grade.
- Following confirmation of the job description and grade the HR Business Partnering contact will log the job description on the database and issue a unique reference number, for use in the advertising process and to assist future JD matching.
Grading process for existing jobs (Agreed Route)
- Where a member of staff, their line manager and FM/HPS (or delegate) agree that the duties and responsibilities required to perform a job have changed significantly such that the job may require a re-grading check, they should amend the relevant JD to reflect the changed duties and responsibilities of the job.
- Once a member of staff, their manager and FM/ HPS (or delegate) have reached agreement on a re-drafted JD and recommended grade, by reference to an agreed existing job description (examples available), they should revert to step four in the Grading process for new jobs and follow the remainder of that process. The HR Business Partnering contact will advise on any grading and fairness issues arising during this process. This might include an assessment of the impact on other post holders. If a new grade for the job is agreed and there are no apparent knock-on fairness issues for other post holders (e.g. others with the same JD), the assigned HR Business Partnering contact will inform the HR Services team so that the regrading can be processed.
Grading process for existing jobs (Direct Route)
- Where a line manager or FM/ HPS (or delegate) are unable to agree that changes to duties and responsibilities are needed or merit a re-grading, they should discuss this with the member of staff. Following this the member of staff may still propose revisions to the relevant job description, to reflect their view of the changed duties and responsibilities of the job, showing the tracked changes.
- The member of staff should submit the amended job description and recommended grade to their line who will either confirm that the job description reflects the duties and responsibilities required to perform the job, or will return the amended job description to the member of staff for further amendment.
- Once the member of staff and their line manager have reached agreement that the re-drafted job description is accurate, the manager should submit the draft job description along with the recommended grade to the FM or HPS (or delegate) for approval. Such submissions should be copied for information to HoDs in academic faculties or relevant departmental contacts in Professional Services divisions. The FM/ HPS (or delegate) should endeavour to assist the manager and the member of staff to reach agreement on the appropriate grade for the job.
- If it is still not possible to reach agreement on the relevant grade for an agreed job description, the member of staff may submit the job description and their recommended grade to their HR Business Partnering contact, along with details of the JD that the role has been matched to, if applicable.
- The HR Business Partnering contact will review the amended job description and determine the appropriate grade. The HR Business Partnering contact will advise on any grading and fairness issues arising during this process. This might include an assessment of the impact on other post holders. If a new grade for the job is the outcome, the assigned HR Business Partnering contact will discuss this with the line manager in the first instance. If a higher grade is the agreed action (rather than a reallocation of additional duties taken on), then the HR Services team will be asked to process the regrading.
- The HR Business Partnering contact will send the approved job description, including its grade, to the generic job evaluation email address. It will then be logged on the database of agreed job descriptions for future reference.
- Should a member of staff be dissatisfied they may submit an appeal against a grading decision on an agreed JD. In such cases, the relevant agreed job description will be evaluated by a panel of three trained job analysts, including a union representative where possible. The panel chair can seek additional information from the individual member of staff and/or local management if clarification on the role is required.
1. Upon receipt of an approved job description for grading, HRBP will endeavour to provide an initial outcome within five working days. On occasion, if there is a significant volume of grading requests, a longer timescale may be required but you will be kept informed if this occurs.
2. Where a post is occupied, any change in grade will be effective from the month following receipt of a grading request, providing that approved request is submitted before the 28th of the month.
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