NHS staff development tool made simpler to use

A staff development tool geared towards nurses, administrators and non-medical staff working in the health service has been overhauled to make it easier for HR departments to use, according to NHS Employers.

A simplified and more flexible version of the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) – the career and pay progression strand of Agenda for Change (the pay system for the non-medical workforce) – was published this morning, following independent research that revealed that some employers found the original version too complex and time consuming to implement.

The KSF, which supports staff development in appraisals, has been rewritten by the NHS Staff Council, to make it simpler and easier for HR directors to understand. It now comprises six simple “core dimensions” designed to help staff develop the skills to do their job and deliver the organisation’s objectives:



  • communication;
  • personal and people development;
  • health;
  • safety and security;
  • service improvement;
  • quality; and
  • equality and diversity.

Karen Jennings, Unison’s head of health, pointed out that around one-third of staff do not receive an annual appraisal or personal development plan, despite the KSF being developed six years ago.

“Trusts that fail staff in this way run the risk of failing patients as well,” she warned. “This simplified version of the KSF will allow trusts that have not extended this scheme to all their staff, to learn from the best practice of others and ensure their workforce is developed and motivated to deliver the best patient care.”

Greg Allen, director of HR and workforce development at NHS Devon and employer-side chair of the NHS Staff Council, described the simplified KSF as “drawing on existing good practice in the NHS”.

“It supports fair, effective annual appraisals that are essential if both individuals and organisations are to achieve their objectives, and ultimately to achieve excellent patient care,” he said.

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