The aim of this guidance is for line managers to:

  • Have an understanding of the new process
  • Have an awareness of the timelines
  • Know what is required to submit a request
  • Know where to go for more support/further information
  • Be able to cascade the process down to staff

Guidance for Line Managers

What is Establishment Review?

The new process was designed, agreed and supported following discussions with the Faculty Operating Officers, the Technicians Network, Provost’s Board, Operations Committee, and the Joint Trade Unions.

Establishment review is about changes to a departments organisational structure which leads to a change in the number of posts available at one or more grades. The process is based on departmental business needs, and it is not possible for individual staff members to initiate an Establishment Review.

The College previously used a Job Level Review (JLR) process by which individual members of staff could be put forward by line managers or make a personal application to be considered for re grading to a higher job level. This paper process is no longer available as the College wishes to make sure that job opportunities are available to a wider range of staff from all backgrounds and that selection is via formal interview.

Establishment Review Principles

Equal pay for work of equal value - 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.

Roles assessment using the Hay methodology - The College continues to use the Hay methodology to ascertain the size of roles and will continue to involve Unions in this assessment process.

Consistency of role design - Role design should be consistent across the College, as one employer, where possible whilst ensuring local requirements are supported.

Support of staff career development through other processes - The College is committed to support those who wish to develop their careers and acknowledges that the navigation of career paths varies across different job families and roles at the College.

It is NOT a ‘promotions’ process - Career progression in professional, technical, and operational roles normally requires an individual to apply and be selected for vacant roles. As such, the PTO Establishment Review process is not a ‘promotions’ process.

Transparency in how roles are created & individuals move into them - Transparent and fair selection processes should be followed to allocate individuals to new or changed roles.

Recognition of staff achievements through other processes - 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.

What does this mean?

  • The change is to focus on role/structure
  • It is a reorganisation so jobs can go up and down in grade
  • Applies when changes to a departments organisational structure result in a change to 1 or more posts (currently with staff in place)
  • It applies when the duties of a job change NOT the performance of an individual
  • This new process brings consistency and transparency to how we change roles and appoint people to them
  • New process facilitates local scrutiny to ensure consistency across the Faculty/Department
  • Ensures roles changes are recognised, understood & supported across the Faculty/Department
  • This is not the route to recognise staff for individual performance that is covered by other methods e.g. responsibility allowance, pay review exercise.

Is this a promotion process?

  • Promotion in PTO roles normally requires an individual to apply for vacancy
  • The PTO Establishment Review is not a ‘promotions’ process but is one way a role can become available for people to apply to
  • The other way is the “usual” recruitment process when individuals apply for vacant posts that are advertised
  • Posts that become available through either process are filled via a selection process which normally includes an interview
  • Staff will have the opportunity & support to apply for new roles created via the PTO Establishment Review
  • Career progression may have to be outside the current job, team, department, faculty, or the College

Key Aspects of the process

  • Managed on a local (Faculty Level) with support and a framework from HR
  • Only applies to Professional, Technical and Operational roles
  • Termly meetings to review proposals for changes
  • Focus on roles and structures, not individuals
  • Is forward looking - not retrospective
  • Establishment Review Panel with guidance from HR ‘authorises’ the process for filling the role

What it covers

This process is focused on:

  • Changes to existing roles/structures NOT new roles that do not impact existing roles
    within the structure
  • Changes which represent a change of 20% or more to the role duties
  • The requirements of the role/the department not the individual
  • Ensuring the right structure is in place with regards to roles and their level
  • Agreeing changes in roles before they are implemented

If your proposal meets these criteria it will be required to be submitted through the PTO Establishment Review process.

If the above scenario does not match your case, your HR Partner will advise you on the next steps, e.g., submit role to JEP, no evaluation required, etc.

Establishment Review process step by step

1. Line Manager discusses changes with HR Strategic Support

    Review required?

        a. No - Follow Minor Change Process

        b. Yes - Process continues

Start Point

The trigger for this process would normally be that a line manager wishes to make changes to a job description and those changes may (a) impact the grade of the role and/or (b) impact other roles within the department.

This process is focused on the requirements of the role/the department not the individual. This is not about a promotion process for individuals but ensuring the right structure is in place with regards to roles and their level.

If the proposal represents a change of 20% or more to the job description it will be required to be submitted through the Establishment Review process. If not it will be managed by the Line Manager through the ‘Minor Change’ process.

Formal consultation is required for all changes of 20% or more. Consultation will be managed by Strategic Support and begin once the Establishment Review and Job Evaluation process have been completed.


2. Head of Department reviews and approves application

    Application approved?

       a. No - End of process

       b. Yes - Process continues


Approving the Application

The department must review and approve the application, including the financial aspects of the proposal. This approval will normally be undertaken by the HoD and DOM (or their equivalents).

We are not proposing to include a formal approval step within the application process workflow. The person submitting the online form will be asked to provide the name of the manager(s) within the department who have approved the application.


3. Line Manager submits Establishment Review application on HR Portal


Submitting and Processing the application

All requests submitted to the Recruitment & Progression Team in advance of the meeting by the appropriate deadline and in the correct documentation.

Establishment Review Panel meetings will be arranged on a rolling basis and publicised by the Recruitment & Progression Team.

When submitted, all proposals will be reviewed in advance to ensure they have completed all the relevant paperwork to be reviewed by the Establishment Review Panel.


4. Recruitment and Progression (R&P) team receives and logs application

5. R&P team checks that application is complete

6. R&P team prepares and distributes documentation to Establishment Review Panel


Establishment Review Panel Membership

The Manager making the proposal will be invited to present their case to the Establishment Review Panel and respond to any questions.

The Establishment Review Panel will be chaired by the appropriate Senior Manager e.g. Faculty Operating Officer (FOO)

The membership of each Faculty committee 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

The Recruitment and progression team will be responsible for administering the Establishment Review process.


7. Establishment Review Panel considers application(s)

    Panel supports application?

        a. No - End of process

        b. Yes - Process continues


Role of the Establishment Review Panel

The role of the Establishment Review Panel is to discuss the request and agree outcomes requested. Panel should review the business case to ensure it is feasible, realistic, inline with the Faculty Strategy and structure, doesn’t create any duplication of work/role.

The panel is not expected to evaluate any job descriptions and/or sign off a grade. This will be done later by the appropriate Job Evaluation Panel.


Record keeping and appeals

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

As this process does not involve submissions from individuals there is no appeals process. The Establishment Review group may, however, ask for the submission to be resubmitted with further information or changes following feedback from the group.


8. Submit application to Job Evaluation Panel

9. Job Evaluation Panel assesses job level

10. R&P team notifies Line Manager of outcome

11. Change management process

12. Initiate recruitment process

Change Management, Recruitment & Selection

The proposal should consider how individuals holding existing roles may be affected by the implementation of any new structure. HR Strategic Partners can provide support in understanding the best approach to implementing the change. All changes would need to be implemented In accordance with the College’s Change Management procedure.

Where a proposal results in the deletion of one or more roles and/or the creation of new roles, individuals occupying the deleted roles will be considered for assimilation into the new role(s).

Where there is more than one individual eligible for consideration for the new role(s), the role(s) will be ring fenced and a competitive internal recruitment process will be initiated.

Where a higher graded role is available that is deemed suitable alternative employment for an individual, the individual will be interviewed for the role to assess their suitability. If the individual is unsuccessful and no other suitable role is available they will be eligible for redundancy.

Where no suitable candidates are identified within the existing roles/team, a full recruitment process will be initiated.


The Timelines

  • April - Managers to submit requests
  • May - Establishment Review Panels
  • Going forward every term with possibility of ad hoc meetings

PTO Establishment Review Panel

The PTO Establishment Review Panel will be chaired by the appropriate Senior Manager e.g. Faculty Operating Officer (FOO)

The membership 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

The panel should reflect the diversity of the organisation at that level.

Please know to keep the day of the panel free as you will be expected to attend and present your business case for 15 minutes per case.

Application process

Before submitting an application

1. “Line manager” identifies a need to make changes to a job description and/or structure

Those changes may:
a) impact the grade of the role and/or
b) impact other roles within the department.

2. Manager discuses with HR Partner

3. Manager updates Job Descriptions and team structure

4. Manager must get support from the department for their proposals including the financial aspects of the proposal. 

This approval will normally be undertaken by the HoD and DOM (or their equivalents)

After submission

5. Once manager is happy with proposal and has support from HR Partner/Dept, they can submit paperwork

6. Manager will be invited to the panel to verbally present their case and maybe supported by their line manager if appropriate

7. Establishment Review Panel reviews the request

8. New job description goes to Job Evaluation Panel

9. Manager needs to fill vacancy as agreed in proposal

This will include some form of assessment (normally an interview) of an individuals suitability for the new role

The Application Form - Information Required

  1. What is the proposed level of any new or altered role?
  2. Approval for budgetary impact and details on the resources to fund any required increase in the staffing budget.
  3. Explain how the duties and responsibilities for the role have changed: A. Address changes in the complexity and scale B. Likely duration of the change(s).
  4. Provide details if these changes impact on another role/team
  5. The business case. The reason for the request e.g. change in the external environment (new regulatory requirements, substantial changes in volumes) or an internal opportunity to improve efficiency and effectiveness (by redesigning processes), and the benefits associated with the change.
  6. The intended method to fill any new role. This must follow established College processes and be proportionate to the scale of the proposed change. A. Need to follow the College’s Change Management procedure. B. Discuss this your Strategic HR Partner
  7. CID Number for current post holders
  8. Org chart and job descriptions (pre and post changes)

Support available for staff

Support from HR

Career progression support at the College

Additional Resources