Job banding together for MSW Week

By RCM Employment Relations Advisor Alice Sorby on 17 November 2021 Maternity Services MSW Week MSWs - Maternity Support Workers

Just over a year ago the RCM launched its Job Evaluation Toolkit and quite rightly job evaluation and pay banding was a real focus of MSW week 2020. Fast forward 12 months and you will see it is just as important to RCM members today. We will keep supporting you to challenge inappropriate banding until it’s no longer an issue that members face!

So let’s refresh our understanding of job evaluation and what resources there are to support you. The NHS Job Evaluation Scheme underpins the Agenda for Change pay structure, and ensures equal pay for work of equal value. The way the scheme works is to rank jobs by knowledge and skills, responsibility and effort. Every job description that is created for Agenda for Change staff must go through a process of either job matching or job evaluation. The RCM’s Job Evaluation Toolkit provides practical guidance and advice on what job evaluation is and the steps you should take if you think you are being expected to perform inappropriate tasks for your pay band.

Here's an example of what we mean by inappropriate in terms of NHS pay banding is Band 2 MSWs being asked to perform tasks that replace clinical midwifery time. The Freedom of Information Request we carried out last year found that in some areas there was poor local practice. We saw Band 2 job descriptions that included tasks like feeding newborns through their nose, observations on women such as temperature, blood pressure and pulse and observations on new born babies. In job evaluation terms Band 2s should provide additional support—such as personal care, housekeeping and administration.

Here is some new news and good news! Because the RCM and others raised these concerns, the national NHS Job Evaluation Group, of which we are a member, has made some revisions to the Band 2 and 3 clinical support worker profiles. These are small but important clarifications on the differences between the two profiles, like I described above. There is also guidance for employers and job matching panels on the changes as well. You can read more information here.

These clarifications will help us to ensure job evaluation at a local level is reliable, accurate, fair and consistent. Now the call to action – if you have concerns speak to your local RCM workplace representative. If you don’t know who that is or there isn’t one in your workplace phone the RCM on 0300 303 0444. Better still, why not get more involved and become an activist yourself? Find out how to become an MSW advocate here.