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Grading Review Procedure and Appeals Procedure

Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Grading Requests: New and Vacant Posts
  3. Grading Requests: existing posts with permanent employees in post
  4. Grading Review Panels
  5. The Appeals Process
  6. Further advice
  7. Monitoring

 

1. Introduction 

This procedure applies only to grading review requests subsequent to the implementation at SOAS of the Framework Agreement.
This procedure sets out the arrangements for the grading of new and vacant posts, and the review of the grading of existing posts with permanent employees in post. This procedure applies to all staff groups except Academic (Teaching & Research) staff.  Academic staff are subject to the Academic promotion procedure.

SOAS is committed to the principles of equal pay for work of equal value. The grading system is therefore based upon the evaluation of the duties and responsibilities attached to a post, using directly or indirectly the Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) scheme, and not upon the personal merits of individual post-holders. The grading of posts will be undertaken by trained Role Analysts.
Grading review & appeals should be submitted to Human Resources.  Human Resources contact details can be found online.  

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2. Grading Requests: new and vacant posts

New or significantly changed posts are subject to the evaluation and grading process and must be checked and authorised by the relevant HR Manager prior to advertising.  These posts will be considered weekly in order to be responsive to the recruitment needs of Departments and Directorates.
Role Descriptions will be provided by Human Resources to the Head of Department, Director of Directorate or line manager for use as a template for the new job description.

A copy of the proposed advert, job description, person specification and Grading Request Form  (GR1 form) should also be forwarded for consideration by Human Resources.

Requests for grading should be submitted electronically by 10a.m. Thursday for consideration the following week.  The decision, or timescale for evaluation,  regarding the grade will be notified to the Head of Department, Director of  Directorate or line manager by the end of that week.

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3. Grading Review Requests: existing posts with permanent employee in post

Requests for grading review can be made by the role holder and/ or their Head of Department, Director of Directorate or line manager.

Where it is submitted by the role holder, the information provided will be subject to verification by the Head of Department/ line manager and any information provided by the Head of Department/ line manager will be added to the review request documentation and provided to the role holder (and their representative where appropriate).  The relevant Dean of Faculty or Director of Directorate should also sign the Grading Review Request form to provide budget approval.

Where the grading review request is submitted by the Head of Department, Director of Directorate or line manager, the role holder must sign to indicate that they have seen the submission and are happy for it to go forward.
The Request for grading review should be made by submitting a completed Grading Review Form (GR2) to the Human Resources Department and attaching the following:

  • A new or amended Role Outline Form (ROF) (with changes tracked electronically or a detailed written statement of the revised sections) OR
  • A nationally agreed Role Profile, with a detailed written statement, indicating why it is more appropriate than that used to currently grade the post
  • A structure chart showing clearly how your role fits into your section and the overall structure of your Faculty or Directorate.

Following receipt of the completed Grading Review form (GR2 form) and associated documentation by Human Resources, any new or amended ROF will then be subjected to role analysis by Human Resources.

In cases where the submission is made by the role holder alone, where information supplied by the Head of Department, Director of Directorate or Line Manager as part of the verification process would negatively affect the scoring of the ROF, both the submitted ROF and a version amended by this information will be scored.

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3.1 Timeframe and Grading Review Flowchart

Although it is possible to give timelines for particular stages of the Grading Review and Appeals process, it is not possible to give an overall timescale as this will be dependent upon the number of applications received at any one time.  Please see Grading Review & Appeals Flowchart (Appendix 8(a)) at http://mercury.soas.ac.uk/intranet/HR/FW/  for timelines.

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4 Grading Review Panel

The Grading Review Panel will consist of three trained role analysts comprising an HR Manager, a Faculty/Directorate manager and a trade union nominee.

A request for grading review and all relevant verified documentation should be submitted to HR for evaluation.  HR undertakes to carry out evalutions on a weekly basis and requests will normally be dealt with within 2 weeks.  As soon as the evaluation has been carried out the documentation will be submitted for consideration to the next scheduled Grading Review Panel.  (Grading Review Panels will normally meet on the second Friday of each month.) Otherwise it will be held over to the next scheduled meeting.   Please see Grading Review & Appeals Flowchart (Appendix 8A) for further information on the timeframe.

The Panel will evaluate the post on the basis of the ROF and documentation submitted from HR following the reassessment of the role as described above.  In exceptional circumstances, the Panel may also wish to interview the post-holder.
No Panel member will consider an application for a Grading Review for a member of staff in his/her own Faculty/Directorate.  (Panels for HR posts will have a maximum of one member of the HR Directorate, and the panel will be chaired by either the trade union nominee or the Faculty/Directorate manager.)
The role of the panel is to ensure that the appellant has a fair hearing and to make the final decision concerning the appropriate grade for an individual’s role.  Taking account of the HERA methodology, it will review all of the evidence presented and decide on the appropriate action to take.

In the event that the Grading Review Panel are unable to confirm their approval for the evaluation they will clearly outline their request for additional information/clarification on the Grading Review Panel form (GR3 Form).  

The HR Manager will contact the role holder within 5 days of the panel meeting to arrange a meeting to discuss the additional information/clarification required.  Within 10 days of this meeting the role holder should provide the additional, verified information/clarification.  On receipt of the additional information required the role will be re-evaluated and this information, along with the new response summary, will be emailed to the Grading Review Panel members for agreement.  See Grading Review & Appeals Flowchart (Appendix 8A) for timelines.

If agreement still cannot be reached by Grading Review Panel members a Grading Review Panel meeting will be re-convened and the Grading Review Panel HRM will put forward a case for agreement on the evaluated grade.  A majority decision will be taken to provide approval in the event the panel are unable to reach an agreement.

The outcome of the grading review will be confirmed to the Director of Directorate/Faculty/line managerand the post holder within 10 working days of the Grading Review Panel meeting or email exchange in the event the Grading Review Panel members provided their approval by email.  Any change in salary will be effective from the first of the month following receipt of the grading review request by Human Resources.  Where the grading review does not result in a change of grade, the post holder will be advised of their right to appeal.

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5. The Appeals Process

5.1 Categories of appeal

Appeals against the decision of the Grading Review Panel may be submitted under the following categories:

a)   Change in role – where there has been a significant change in the role that was analysed/matched.  In such cases, if the role was analysed using HERA, the appellant should update the written record and submit this with the appeal.  If the role was matched (either to a benchmark role or nationally agreed role profile), the appellant should submit details of the new role requirements with the appeal.

b) Omission of evidence/ambiguous evidence – where the role holder believes that some important evidence was omitted or may have been ambiguous in the original written record/matching process.  In such cases, the appellant should either update the written record (if the role has been analysed using HERA) or submit the additional evidence about the role that was not considered at the time of the role analysis/matching process.

c) Unreasonable assessment of role – where the role holder submits evidence which suggests that the assessment of the role was unreasonable (for example, the evidence has been interpreted incorrectly or an individual has been matched to an incorrect HERA role or nationally agreed role profile).

d) Inconsistency of treatment – where the role holder submits evidence which suggests that the assessment of the role was inconsistent in comparison with other roles.

e) Failure in process – where the role holder submits evidence that suggests that a material error of process has occurred in the initial analysis/matching of the role, leading to the incorrect grade being applied to a role.

No additional documentation or materials, such as examples of work or testimonials, may be submitted.

The amended ROF or/and any additional evidence as detailed above will then be subjected to role analysis by Human Resources.

In cases where information supplied by the Head of Directorate/ Department/Line Manager would negatively affect the scoring of the ROF, both the submitted ROF and a version amended by this information will be scored.

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5.2 Grading Appeal Procedure - Informal Stage


Notification of the intention to Appeal against a decision of the Grading Appeals Panel must be made by completing the Grading Appeal form (GR4) and submitting it to the Human Resources Director within 10 working days following receipt of the Grading Review Panels decision.
The HR Director will decide on which of the following options is appropriate, taking into account the grounds under which the appeal has been submitted:

  1. Straight to a Grading Appeal Panel
  2. Re-evaluation internally
  3. Re-evaluation externally (ECC consultant but this will depend on budgetary issues)


Before the Formal Stage of the Grading Appeal Procedure is instigated, a meeting will be held with the role holder and a trained role analyst to discuss the grounds for the appeal. Where relevant to the appeal this will be with reference to the ROF, and the results of the evaluation of the post.
The appellant is entitled to be accompanied at this meeting with their trade union representative or a companion (who must be an employee of the School).

HR will contact the role holder within 15 working days of receipt of the appeal to arrange a suitable time and date for an informal meeting to be held.

If the matter is not resolved, the Formal Stage of the Grading Appeal Procedure can then be instigated by the appellant.

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5.3 Grading Appeal Procedure - Formal Stage

A formal appeal should be made by the appellant by submitting the Grading Appeal form (GR4 Form) with any relevant documentation  to Human Resources within 10 working days of the Informal Stage being completed.

This form must state the grounds of appeal (which may have been clarified during the Informal Stage) and, where relevant to the appeal, with reference to the ROF. The grounds of the appeal can challenge any information supplied by the Head of Directorate/Department/ line manager including issues relating to the verification of a ROF.

The ROF and/or additional evidence will be re-evaluated by Human Resources and documentation from this reassessment together with the completed Grading Appeal form (GR4 Form) and submission will be passed to the next Grading Appeal Panel.

The Grading Appeal Panel will consist of 1 Faculty/Directorate manager (not previously involved in the case), 1 trade union representative (not previously involved in the case) and the Human Resources Director.  All Panel members will have received Appeals training.

The formal appeal and all relevant verified documentation should be submitted to HR for evaluation.  HR undertakes to carry out evaluations on a weekly basis and requests will normally be dealt with within 2 weeks of submission. As soon as the evaluation has been carried out, the documentation will be submitted for consideration to a Grading Appeal Panel.  A Grading Appeal Panel will be convened as soon as reasonably practicable and normally within 2 weeks of receipt of the final and verified documentation that has been subjected to evaluation.

In the event that the Grading Appeal Panel is unable to confirm their approval for the evaluation, they will clearly outline their request for additional information/clarification on the Grading Appeal Panel form (GR5 Form).  The HR Director will contact the role holder within 5 days of the panel meeting to arrange a meeting to discuss the additional information/clarification required.  Within 10 days of this meeting the role holder will provide the additional, verified information/clarification.  On receipt of the additional information required, the role will be re-evaluated and this information along with the new response summary will be emailed to the Grading Appeal panel members for agreement.  See Grading Review & Appeals Flowchart (Appendix 8A) for detailed timelines.

If agreement still cannot be reached by Grading Appeal panel members, a meeting will be re-convened and the HR Director will put forward a case for agreement on the evaluated grade.  A majority decision will be taken to provide approval in the event the panel are unable to reach an agreement.
The appellant will be notified of the outcome of the appeal within 10 working days of the Grading Appeal Panel meeting at which it was considered or from the date of the email providing agreement.  Where the outcome of the appeal is a change to the grade of the post, this will be effective from the first of the month following the receipt of the original application by Human Resources.
The decision of the Grading Appeal Panel will be final.

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6. Further Advice

The HR team is available to advise on any aspect of this process. To find out who is your designated contact, look at our 'Who looks after my department?' page. 
Guidance on completing a ROF is available from http://mercury.soas.ac.uk/intranet/HR/FW/
Other Policies and Procedures

The procedure to award accelerated increments and the award of contribution points can be found in the Reward and Recognition Procedure

Please note that requests for Grading Reviews cannot normally be submitted more than once a year unless a Change Management Process for the department is instigated or where some exceptional circumstances arise and cannot be addressed through the rewards procedure.

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7. Monitoring

The outcome of Grading Reviews & Appeals will be monitored in terms of the grade, gender, ethnic origin and disability status of the post holders involved. Monitoring data will be discussed with SOAS’s recognised trade unions and considered by the Equality & Diversity Committee with a view to ensuring that there are no discriminatory effects of this procedure.

Papers submitted for job evaluation purposes including ROFs, adverts and job descriptions may be checked later for purposes such as audits, spot checks and scheme application reliability reviews.
This procedure has been agreed in partnership with SOAS’s recognised trade unions, UCU and UNISON.
May 2008 (reviewed & amended August 2010)

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