Grading service review: communications and updates

The grading service review is committed to involving staff in its work. Please view the archive of communications and updates related to the review below. 


The aim of this workstream is to introduce a standardised approach to job descriptions, reducing significantly the number of job evaluations that are required. 

Benefits to departments: 

  • Streamlined approach for developing job descriptions - reducing time spent by departmental HR teams and line managers developing JD’s 

  • Greater clarity, efficiency and consistency for managing the job evaluation process 




Over the last 12 weeks, the Reward team has engaged the University’s central HR teams and HR colleagues across all divisions to determine needs and priorities relating to this workstream and to identify existing projects which may impact this work. Recommendations arising from these conversations include: 

  • Improved communication, visibility and transparency across the University in relation to using generic job descriptions and when to submit a request for grading 
  • The creation of an internal SharePoint to give better visibility of roles that are graded across the University 
  • Expand the range of generic job descriptions available throughout the grade structure 

It was also felt that multiple factors may be contributing to the underutilisation of existing generic job descriptions so it is unlikely that the development of new generic job descriptions in isolation would meet the overall project objectives. For this reason, the project will also look for ways to help support line managers with resources and guidance to encourage the adoption of standardised job descriptions. 

Feedback has also been gathered from managers across the divisions via a short poll to understand views on existing generics, challenges with the process of writing job descriptions and suggestions for improvements. 

An invitation to provide feedback or participate in the working group was also shared with the HR community at the HR Policy Briefing on 8 February 2024. Thank you to those who have since been in touch.  

The working party includes representatives from Medical Sciences (Kaitlin Beazley, Heledd Gwilym, Melanie Axis-Butler, Oliver Kitchen), SAID Business School (Nicola Gibbons), MPLS (Karla Taylor, James Hamilton, Laura Christophers, Akiko Frellesvig), Humanities Shared Services (Sarah Wilcox-Jones, Clive Brown), GLAM (Abigail Hipkin, Cathy Hamer), UAS (Jasmine Doris). We welcome further interest in joining the working party sessions. 

Next steps: 

From the initial engagement sessions, we have a clear view of the perceived gaps in the generic job descriptions and are currently working to prioritise developing this range further to add to the available suite. 

The working party group for this workstream met on 19 February bringing together HR contacts across the divisions to collectively problem solve, consider barriers and what we want to improve. A follow up session with the working party took place on Thursday 21 March to solicit reflections on proposed approach and potential workstream to address feedback that has been gathered to date.  Work is currently underway to pilot developing a broader range of generic job descriptions starting initially with Finance, HR & IT. 

If you would be interested in participating in future sessions or would like to suggest line managers who may be open to providing feedback then please contact Emma Hodgkinson-Last

A dashboard showing real-time updates of grading requests is now available on the job evaluation web page. This was developed as an outcome of 2022’s Grading Service Review and delivered as a workstream of the digital transformation HR Data Availability project. 

This dashboard uses a ‘traffic light’ method to indicate the team’s capacity for grading, regrading and setting up new posts, along with estimated timeframes. ‘Green’ means readiness to accept new requests, ‘amber’ indicates resources are a little stretched, and ‘red’ signals a very busy period, with potential delays.  

By comparing actual delivery times to targets, the team can monitor its performance against service level agreements, improving transparency and communication with end-users. 

This dashboard supports the partnership model established post-service review, fostering a consistent and transparent approach to user services.  

Feedback on user experience is sought from departments and a revised application form and guidance notes for the regrading process are piloted. 

From week commencing 26 June 2023, changes were made to two Staff Request position types. 

1.     'New post – Generic (amended)' was retired

2.     'New post – Existing JD' was added

The new position types are intended to clearly indicate that a job is based on an existing JD, regardless of which department this was in. This position type will not require a check from a grading analyst.

The Staff Request and Contract Decision matrix was simplified and placed into a new Excel format, as an interactive tool, so support departments to select the most appropriate position type for their needs.

A temporary triage service is launched in order to manually review requests. This led to grading turnaround times being reduced by 2 days on average and 20% fewer gradings required overall. A range of recommendations on system improvements are made following the findings of triage. 

Sarah Kilgour, Head of Reward, provides an update on the key recommendations from the recent HR Grading Service Review and what this means for colleagues who are involved in staff recruitment.

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