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Knowledge and Skills Framework: What are gateways?

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Nursing Times’ ongoing series on Agenda for Change answers your questions about the new pay system. Here we look at gateways.


Everyone is going on about the gateways in Agenda for Change but there is little explanation about them. Could you explain what the ‘second gateway’ is in Agenda for Change and how will I know I have gone through it? Also what benefit will I receive once I have gone through it?


Gateways are the way that you to move up the pay band in which you are placed. They work alongside the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) - the development tool for career progression and personal development plans.

The idea is that each pay band (which has different pay points in it) will have two points, known as gateways, which serve as a trigger of sorts. When you reach those points, this will mean an automatic assessment of your knowledge and skills using elements of the KSF. If you are judged to be doing your job well and are competent, then you will move through the gateway and up the pay band.

The KSF is a framework of competencies which are described as dimensions. The six core dimensions are: communication; personal and people development; health, safety and security; service development; quality; and equality, diversity and rights. Employers have to draw up a KSF outline that benchmarks the skills and knowledge you would be expected to achieve to do your job competently. It identifies what is lacking and ensures training to help you improve.

The first gateway is called a Foundation Gateway and only applies to newly appointed staff who will pass through it after completing one year in the job - very much like a probation period. The second gateway (for nurses and midwives) is near the top of your pay band - usually before the first of the last three points in bands 5-7 and in band 8 (A-D), before the final point.

When you reach that gateway, a formal review will take place of your individual development measured against the job’s full KSF outline for the post. The second gateway is assumed to be open unless your manager can demonstrate your competence is in question. You will know you have gone through it, because you will be told so after the formal review and your pay will be increased to the next point up.

Apart from the obvious benefit of more money, it will mean that your work has been properly assessed again and you will be recognised for the work you are doing and the skills you show in the job. This may also mean a new job title.

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