Focus Service Review: next steps for the HR grading service

The Reward team worked with the Focus team to carry out a Service Review of the HR grading service. Rooted in the Professional Services Together framework for enhancing our professional services across the University by focusing on collaboration, quality and our people, the review has now reached its conclusion. 

Identifying improvements and reducing workload 

The Service Review identified many aspects of the current service that are valued by service users, as well as ideas for improvement. A key finding of the review is that we undertake significantly more full job evaluations (JEs) than other Russell Group Universities, where standardised approaches to job descriptions are embedded. Many of the review’s recommendations concern the introduction of a similar approach at Oxford. Reducing the number of JEs undertaken will help to reduce the challenges currently experienced (for example, time delays) as a result of the high volume of requests received, and the introduction of standardised job descriptions will address some of the perceived inconsistency in the current approach. 

Review recommendations 

The key recommendations are: 

  • to introduce a temporary triage approach to remove requests where a job evaluation (JE) is unnecessary, and provide prompt advice where appropriate; 
  • a central, pre-application advice service to enable departments to discuss grading and regrading cases in advance of submitting a staff request; 
  • a longer-term, strategic project to introduce a standardised approach to job descriptions, significantly reducing the number of JEs that are required, saving time across the organisation, and ensuring consistency. Divisions and departments will have the opportunity to be involved in shaping this approach; and 
  • improved communications, training and documentation to improve visibility and transparency. 

A high level implementation plan has been agreed, with targets and activities to be achieved over the next three years. 

Next steps 

Phase 1 of the recommended actions will begin in January, with the launch of the triage exercise (details to follow separately). This will run for approximately three months with the objectives to: 

  • gather data to enable targeted communications and training and guide the implementation of the medium and long-term review recommendations; 
  • improve turnaround times, with more efficient movement of requests through the process;  
  • reduce the number of full JEs carried out; and 
  • reduce time spent seeking additional information. 

Find out more about Service Reviews 

An update from Gill Aitken, the Registrar, provides more information about Service Reviews and how Professional Services Together is supporting our professional services