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Appraisals and the Knowledge and Skills Framework

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Agenda for Change…Explained


I am a mental health staff nurse and have not had an appraisal in the last year. I am worried that, under the AfC Knowledge and Skills Framework, this could jeopardise my ability to get promoted.


You are not alone. The latest annual NHS staff survey published last month [march] by the Healthcare Commission showed that only 60% of the 2000,000 staff questioned had had an appraisal last year - 3% less than in the previous year.

This is worrying as the annual appraisal - or personal development review (PDR) as it is now refered to - is an essential part of Agenda for Change?s Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF).

From September 2006, all staff who are part of the Agenda for Change pay and development system are supposed to receive a PDR, as part of the KSF. However, if many staff are not receiving appraisals under the existing system, it raises the issue of whether they will then successfully make this happen under the new system of Agenda for Change.

However, if you are concerned that your employer is not prepared to deliver this, it is not too late to rectify the situation. Firstly, you should make sure that you have a KSF outline for your post, as you cannot initiate a PDR without one. Secondly, make sure your manager is aware that they are obliged to provide a PDR from September and that it is not as complicated to organise as they might fear.

For instance, there is an electronic version of the KSF, including a PDR outline, available to all NHS employers, although many have not signed up for it yet. It is not mandatory, but using it can ease the process of completing staff PDRs.

Under AfC rules, trusts are not allowed to stop staff going through the second gateway if they are responsible for staff not receiving a PDR or failing objectives because the appropriate training or development has not been offered.

This means if, come September 2007, you have not received your PDR or not met your objectives because your employer have failed to get organised, you will still automatically go through the gateways. However, a PDR is a fundamental part of AfC and of your development as a health professional and an individual. Therefore, if you continue to encounter resistance, you should contact your regional union office or rep for support.

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