The PTO Establishment Review is the new process for how we review proposed changes to existing Professional, Technical and Operational roles and replaces the previous Job Level Review process.

All significant changes to existing job description/structures (excluding new roles that do not impact existing roles within the structure) must now follow this process.

This new process focuses on the requirements of the role as described by the relevant line management and reviewed by the Faculty/Department Management Team ensuring the right structure/jobs are in place to deliver our College Strategy.

This new approach is based upon a template which we successfully piloted in FOGIT prior to the pandemic. It aims to improve consistency in how roles and structures are changed across the College and the transparency in how we recruit to these posts, so they reflect our aspirations for equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Every term each Faculty/Department will host an Establishment Review Panel which will be chaired by the FOO/Director. The panel will be attended by a selection of local senior managers and HR.


All applications must be submitted online using the link below. When you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming the documents have been received.

We recommend you review all the information and guidance documents below before starting your application.

Please note you are unable to save your application once started meaning you will need to complete and submit it in one sitting.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you consider drafting your business case and have to hand all the relevant documents that you need to submit (e.g. job descriptions, organisation charts) before starting your application. Please click here to see the information required for the application form.

Learn More About the Establishment Review Process

Information about the process

What the process will involve

The manager identifies the need to amend the content of a job description and/or structure of a team (which is likely to have an impact upon the grade of the roles) and discusses the proposed changes with their HR Strategic Partner. If they agree the changes are significant and could impact the grade, an application will need to be submitted to the Establishment Review Panel.

In the application managers will outline the required changes and why they are needed. All applications are subsequently reviewed by the PTO Establishment Review Panel and line managers will be invited to attend to present their case. Supported by HR, these panels will operate across the whole College on a Faculty basis and include Central & Support Services, Academic Services, and College Headquarters.

The role of the Establishment Review Panel is to review the request to ensure it is feasible and aligned with the Faculty Strategy and structure. The panel is not expected to evaluate any job descriptions and/or sign off a grade. If the panel decides to support the request, the job description(s) and relevant information will go to the weekly Job Evaluation panels (including union membership) where a full evaluation will take place considering all the relevant information. If the panel decides not to support a request, they will explain their decision to the manager.

Proposals will also need to outline how the changed role will be recruited to if it is approved. Different recruitment options will be used depending on the situation and could include:
• External and internal recruitment
• Internal recruitment - whole College
• Internal recruitment - limited to specific department or group

Whichever recruitment route is chosen, it will involve a selection process to ensure the person selected has the right skills for the new role.

If the requested changes to a job description submitted to the PTO Establishment Review Panel are approved, the new job description will be submitted to the weekly Job Evaluation panel.

To ensure consistency and transparency within the PTO Establishment Review process, decisions will be regularly reviewed by the Recruitment and Progression Team, noting any issues of concern or recommendations of process improvement to the HR Senior Management Team. An annual report of the PTO Establishment Review process, including an equality impact assessment, will be considered by the HR SMT.

PTO Establishment Review Policy

1.0   Policy Statement / Purpose 

    1.1   This policy outlines our approach to reviewing new and existing (occupied) roles, their grades, and structure, and how job evaluation will be used in alignment with this approach to ensure the fair and consistent grading of new and existing roles across the University. 

    1.2   This policy seeks to follow these principles: 

  • The College has a legal responsibility to ensure that all staff receive equal pay for work of equal value, and processes should exist to ensure that this is upheld.   
  • The College continues to use the Hay methodology to ascertain the size of roles and will continue to involve Unions in this assessment process. 
  • Role design should be consistent across the College, as one employer, where possible whilst ensuring local requirements are supported. 
  • The College is committed to support those who wish to develop their careers whilst at the College and acknowledges that the navigation of career paths varies across different job families and roles at the College. 
  • Career progression in professional technical and operational roles normally requires an individual to apply and be selected for vacant roles.  
  • Transparent and fair selection processes should be followed to allocate individuals to new or changed roles. 
  • The College is committed to recognising staff members’ achievements in their role through the College staff recognition awards, and through the Annual Pay Review Framework. 

2.0 Scope 

    2.1   This policy applies to all Professional, Technical and Operational Roles Services roles between grades 1- 6 which are evaluated using the Hay job evaluation system.    

    2.2   This policy does not apply to those staff who are included within the Academic, Teaching and Learning job Families who will follow the Academic Promotion process.  

    2.3   This policy does not apply to staff who are included in the Research Job Family who will follow the Research Promotion Process (unchanged)

3.0   Responsibilities 

    3.1   The Recruitment and Progression Team has day-to-day responsibility for the fair and consistent application of this process.   

4.0   Related Processes 

    4.1   All professional, technical, and operational (PTO) roles are evaluated using the Hay evaluation system.    

    4.2   All PTO job descriptions will be developed based on the requirements of the function and should not be so detailed as to prevent sufficient flexibility for the role to develop in context with operational developments (for example new software) where required.    

    4.3   The grade of a role is based upon business need and therefore a job evaluation of the duties and responsibilities of the role, not an individual’s performance, volume of work or length of service.  

    4.4   Heads of Department/Managers have autonomy to manage their service and structure within their allocated budget. They are therefore responsible for ensuring that roles do not ‘drift’ over time, potentially upwards to a higher grade or downwards to a lower grade, without a sound business rationale.   

    4.5   Temporary or one-off additional contributions should be recognised through the Annual Pay Review process, or through additional payments processes in discussion with HR.  

    4.6   For more information on job families please see the appropriate section in the HR website

5.0   PTO Establishment Review Panels

    5.1   PTO Establishment Review Panel will be established aligned to College organisational structures (e.g. Faculties, FOGIT etc). 

    5.2   The membership of each panel will be decided by each committee chair, and can be rotated, subject to the following minimum criteria.  

  • Minimum of four senior managers/HODs 
  • HR Strategic Partner 
  • Member of Recruitment & Progression Team 
  • Membership reflects the diversity of the relevant senior management within the Faculty/Department.

    5.3   If large or complicated changes are to be discussed the HR Strategic Partners may recommend the attendance of HR Colleagues (e.g. Employee relations, Organisational Development, Senior Staff) 

    5.4   The role of the PTO Establishment Review Panel is to discuss the request. The panel should review the business case to ensure it is 

  • Feasible  
  • Realistic  
  • In line with the Faculty/department/College Strategy  
  • Consistent with similar roles and structures 

    5.5   The panel is not responsible for the evaluation any job descriptions and cannot agree the grades of any new roles. This will normally be done later by the appropriate Job Evaluation Panel.    

6.0   PTO Establishment Review Process 

    6.1   Changes to individual roles, groups of roles and organisational structures will be submitted to PTO Establishment Review panels for discussion and approval, except minor changes (less than 20%) of roles which should be managed through the ‘minor change’ process.

    6.2   Requests for an PTO Establishment Review (ER) of an existing role(s) will be manager led and accompanied by a business case for the proposed change in grade.  

    6.3   Unless exceptional circumstances apply, the College will only accept applications for Establishment Review on the basis of a clear business case provided by the line manager and where there has been a significant change to the responsibilities of the role which will be ongoing (i.e., not temporary). 

    6.4   If a manager is solely seeking to create a new post(s), with no related changes to, or deletion of existing roles, this would not need to go to the PTO Establishment Review Panel and would be created and recruited to in the normal fashion.  

    6.5   Applications will not normally be considered outside of scheduled PTO Establishment Review Panel meetings. 

    6.6   Should a manager be uncertain of whether a role is eligible for consideration by the PTO Establishment Review process they should contact their Strategic HR Partner for advice. 

    6.7   To make an PTO Establishment Review submission, the line manager must submit the following documents electronically: 

  • A job description in the appropriate College format that accurately reflects the current role and includes a completed person specification.   
  • Organisation Chart showing any changes to the Departmental structure, reporting lines and any similar or related roles in the department. 
  • Application Form which must be completed and signed by the line manager and supported by the Head of Department or Departmental Operating Manager

    6.8   The PTO Establishment Review submission should also outline how it is proposed that the role(s) in the structure will be filled.  Where possible, and in accordance with the Change Management Policy and section nine of this policy, access to apply for new roles should be as open as possible.

    6.9   The proposal should consider how individuals holding existing roles may be affected by the implementation of any new structure.  

    6.10   HR will provide templates for submissions to ensure that the above criteria are covered and will provide training, support and advice for managers wishing to make submissions where necessary. 

    6.11   Managers, and potentially their line manager, who make submissions to the panel will be invited to discuss their proposal and answer questions from the panel. Whoever attends to present the submission must understand the context of the request and be able to provide detailed answers to any questions from the panel.

7.0   Outcome of PTO Establishment Review submissions 

    7.1   Where a new role is agreed by the PTO Establishment Review panel, the revised job description will be submitted to the weekly job evaluation panel for formal job evaluation if necessary. 

    7.2   If the Job is evaluated at a different grade to that anticipated, the proposal may need to be resubmitted to the panel for reconsideration as this may affect the implementation of the structure. 

    7.3   Guidance on the appointment to roles following the outcome of PTO Establishment Review can be found in section 9 of this policy.

    7.4   Following the outcome of PTO Establishment Review discussions, consultation processes with staff may be initiated according to the Change Management Policy, and with the support of HR.

8.0   Governance and regular Review 

    8.1   A written record of each meeting should be taken, clearly outlining any decision taken and additional actions or information required.  

    8.2   If a submission to the PTO Establishment Review Group is unsuccessful, the group may ask for the submission to be resubmitted with further information or changes in the context of feedback from the group. 

    8.3   To ensure consistency and transparency within the PTO Establishment Review process decisions will be regularly reviewed by the Recruitment and Progression Team, noting any issues of concern or recommendations of process improvement to the HR Senior Management Team.  An annual report of the PTO Establishment Review process, including an equality impact assessment, will be considered by the HR SMT.  

    8.4   A high-level process document will be developed and regularly reviewed to outline how the PTO Establishment Reviews will operate. Faculties will be able to develop and deliver their process according to local need within this framework.

9.0   Guidance on appointment to roles following PTO Establishment Review 

    9.1   Where a proposal is approved at PTO Establishment Review and involves significant changes to, or deletion of, existing role(s), consideration needs to be given as to whether any new/significantly changed roles within the structure could be considered Suitable Alternative Employment for the existing postholders of the affected posts. Initial priority for these role(s) will be given to staff within the current team who are impacted by these changes.  

    9.2   A post is considered Suitable Alternative Employment where the employee has the knowledge, skills, qualifications, and experience to perform the new role; and the terms and conditions of the work are no less favourable (e.g., similar job duties, responsibility, status, location, pay/grade, and hours compared to their current post). 

    9.3   The question of the suitability or otherwise of any post in the new structure is (as part of the overall proposal) subject to the formal consultation process with the staff member and will normally need to be ascertained via a priority interview (as per section 9.5). 

    9.4   Where the post is considered Suitable Alternative Employment and is on the same pay/grade as the existing post, the postholder will normally be assimilated into the newly created post. Where there is more than one member of staff eligible for assimilation into a post at the same grade, the post will be ringfenced for the affected individuals and a competitive process must be completed. This process will be organised by HR in collaboration with the line manager following our usual HR policies. 

    9.5   Where a higher graded post* is available that could be deemed Suitable Alternative Employment for an employee, the employee will be given a priority interview for the post, to ascertain their suitability. If the employee is unsuccessful at interview, they will be placed at risk of redundancy. In cases where more than one employee is in contention for a post at a higher grade, the post will be ringfenced for the affected employees and this interview will be conducted competitively.  

    9.6   Appointment to a new/significantly changed post in the structure will depend on skills and experience of the employee. Consideration should be given as to whether the necessary skills could be obtained quickly through appropriate training. For further guidance please refer to the Colleges Change Management Policy 

    9.7   Where there is no available Suitable Alternative Employment within the new structure; either because no posts meet the criteria outlined in section 9.3, or because the employee has been unsuccessful at interview (as per section 9.5 or section 9.6); the employee will be considered at risk of redundancy. 

    9.8   Any individuals displaced from a role at this stage would follow the Colleges Change Management Policy and steps would be taken to find SAE elsewhere in the College. 

    9.9   Any remaining new posts within the structure will normally be appointed to via a full, competitive recruitment process.  

           *This should compromise of at least 80% of similar duties and responsibilities to their current substantive role.  

10.0   Employee Cases

    10.1   If an employee has evidence to suggest the grade of their role should be reviewed, they should discuss this with their line manager to explain their case and to submit a request in the usual manner.

    10.2   If the individual is not able to gain the support of their line manager and they do not agree with the decision of their line manager this should be raised with their Strategic HR Partner who will act as an independent advisor in the case.

PTO Establishment Review Dates

List of Faculties and the appropriate PTO Establishment Review Panel Dates

Panel Panel date

Academic Services and Education Office (Chair: Richard Martin, Director of Academic services)

Centre for Academic English, Centre for Continuing Professional Development, Change and Operational Improvement, Digital Media Lab, Interdisciplinary EdTech Lab, Library Services, Marketing, Recruitment and Admissions, Registry, Research Office, Student Services, Student Union, Centre for Languages Culture and Communication, Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship, Education Office, Graduate School

22 June 2024 (application deadline 22 May 2024)

 Business School (Chair: Richard Johnson, FOO)

9 May 2024, 9:30 - 12:00 (application deadline: 25 April 2024)


Central Panel (Chair: Harbhajan Brar, HR Director)

Advancement, Blyth Music Centre and Visual Arts, Central Biomedical Services (CBS), Central Secretariat, Archives, Safety, Risk Management, Legal Services, Communications, Enterprise, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Strategic Planning, Academic Partnerships, International Office, Outreach

24 June 2024, 9:30 - 13:00 - (application deadline 10 June 2024)

11 November 2024, 9:30 - 13:00 - (application deadline 28 October 2024) 



Faculty of Engineering (Chair: Tim Venables, FOO)

Including: Hamlyn Centre, Institute for Security Science and Technology, Institute for Molecular Science and Engineering, Energy Futures Lab, Data Science Institute

10 June 2024 (application deadline: 3 June 2024)

 Faculty of Natural Sciences (Chair: Graeme Rae, FOO)

10 September 2024, 12:00 - 15:00 (application deadline: 27 August 2024)

Faculty of Medicine (Chair: Chris Watkins, FOO)

19 June 2024, 14:00 - 17:00 (application deadline: 05 June 2024)

23 October 2024, 14:00 - 17:00 (applications deadline: 11 October 2024)

19 March 2025, 14:00 - 17:00 (application deadline: 07 March 2025)

18 June 2025, 14:00 - 17:00 (application deadline: 06 June 2025)

 COO Team (Chair: Robert Kerse, Chief Operations Officer)

13 June 2024, (application deadline: 30 May 2024)

10 October 2024, (application deadline: 26 September 2024)

Summary of the table's contents


Support for your application

If you wish to make a submission to the appropriate PTO Establishment Review Panel the following documents will support you:

Strategic Support provide personal and responsive HR support for Senior Managers and Academic Leaders across the College. They will work in partnership with you to support you through the process. They will provide advice on complex employment relations issues and advise on change initiatives. Please find the Strategic HR contacts for your area here.

If this is not the appropriate solution for your needs, there are other options which might be more relevant. Your HR Strategic Partner can help you decide what is the best course of action for your business needs.

The College is committed to recognising staff members’ achievements in their role through the College staff recognition awards, and through the Pay Review Framework. 

Career Development Support

The College provides a range of learning and development opportunities for all staff. Training courses, coaching and mentoring are available through the People and Organisational Development team.  

Career Development Support for PTO Staff

Career development will mean different things to different people. Your career goals may relate to progressing in your field or specialism, changing career direction, expanding your career focus or you may not be clear about what they are yet.  

As POD, we want you to be aware of the different avenues of support to help you work out your career goals and/or find ways to work towards achieving them.

Our aim is to equip and empower you to take responsibility and control for your learning and career development through the provision of a range of development solutions for you to access:

Check out our Core skills  - Core skills development | Administration and support services | Imperial College London – where the  focus is on the development of core skills for your professional development including; communication, career development, and wellbeing, all to support your effectiveness at Imperial.

Apprenticeships Pages Information for Staff | Jobs | Imperial College London - Apprenticeship programmes are available across a range of occupations and at a variety of levels, right through to Masters, allowing staff and Managers to gain new skills and qualifications on the job.

Micro coaching for staff and Managers - Micro-development sessions are short, targeted coaching conversations designed to support all staff at Imperial with their learning and development needs. This could involve exploring your own or your staff’s learning and development if you are a manager. Micro-Development Sessions ( – Book a micro development session with a member of the POD team.

For teams/departments wishing to explore career development for their teams please contact Beth Richardson or Nichola Stallwood (People & Organisational Development)

Career Moves

The Career Moves toolkit supports staff to think and reflect on their career. At Imperial, we have identified six career moves that staff tend to take: Ladder, Grid, Voyage, Rooted, Expedition, and Boomerang. This offering empowers staff to take control of their career and equips managers with the skills to have meaningful developmental conversations. Career Moves | Administration and support services | Imperial College London


Imperial’s mentoring scheme is available to all staff across the College.  Mentoring is a widely used development tool that has proved to positively impact effectiveness, confidence, and career advancement. Our mentor pool continues to grow, and there is good representation across job families and Faculties. Follow the link to find out more: Mentoring at Imperial | Administration and support services | Imperial College London

Career Planning Support
A key part of career planning and development is thinking and reflecting on your career goals, aspirations and how you plan to get there.
This page offers a variety of resources and activities to help you plan your career development and resources to support your development to achieve your goals e.g. interview skills, CV and application writing workshop.