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AfC 'poorly implemented' in Wales

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A damning report has found Agenda for Change has been poorly implemented in Wales.

The independent review, conducted by David Jenkins, the former Wales TUC general secretary, made a number of criticisms of the system, which has still to be fully implemented across Wales despite being introduced in late 2004.

Implementation and Outcomes of Agenda for Change in NHS Wales found there had been a lack of consistency and fairness in how jobs had been evaluated by individual trusts.

It also said the electronic staff records system had seriously disrupted assimilation and the calculation of back pay, and that insufficient resources had been made available to trusts by the Welsh Assembly to support implementation costs.

Finally, it said delays in assimilation meant some staff had actually seen a reduction in pay, which was inconsistent with the spirit with AfC.

The report made a total of five recommendations that will now have to be implemented by all organisations. They include retrospective amendments to pay protection arrangements to ensure no one receives a reduction in total pay at the date of their assimilation.

An NHS Wales job evaluation unit will also be set up to support trusts to complete the AfC process and a collective appeals system will be arranged to deal with common issues brought by unions.

Health minister for Wales Edwina Hart, who instigated the review after hearing about AfC-related problems first-hand during hospital visits, said: 'I was very concerned about the apparent discrepancies. Let me assure staff they will benefit from the recommendations and inconsistencies in the pay system will be rectified.'

Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, said: 'We are pleased with the recommendations in the review – people will have a process to deal with issues where they have been adversely affected because of pay.'

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