NHS Agenda for Change scheme cannot determine equal pay claims

An equal pay judgement has confirmed that an NHS job evaluation scheme cannot be relied on for evidence of a role’s previous value.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal yesterday ruled that Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Trust was correctly allowed to call in an independent expert to compare two jobs.

The defendant, known only as Hovell, was appealing against an earlier employment tribunal decision to allow the expert’s verdict.

Hovell argued that the banding of roles under evaluation scheme Agenda for Change, which was brought into effect in 2004, should determine the question of equal value for the period of claim before that date.

The appeal tribunal decided that despite Agenda for Change providing some evidence of relative value, the onus was still on the claimant to prove two jobs had equal value, and were thus deserving of equal pay.

Rachael Heenan, employment partner at law firm Beachcroft, which defended the trust, said: “This is good news for NHS trusts as the decision confirms once again that Agenda for Change does not have retrospective effect.

“The decision makes it more difficult for claimants to bring successful equal value claims that simply rely on the banding of their roles, and their comparators’ roles, under Agenda for Change.”

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