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How are Grading Review Applications assessed?

Grading Review applications are put through HERA in order to measure the level of responsibility and demands of the role as it stands now.  The Role Analysis (HERA) Overview scheme uses a questionnaire format (consisting of 50 questions/statements) split into 14 HERA elements:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork and motivation
  • Liaison and networking
  • Service delivery
  • Decision making processes and outcomes
  • Planning and organising resources
  • Initiative and problem solving
  • Analysis and research
  • Sensory and physical demands
  • Work environment
  • Pastoral care and welfare
  • Team development
  • Teaching and learning support
  • Knowledge and experience

For example, the Communication element consists of six questions – three relating to oral communication and three relating to written communication.  The three oral communication questions are:

1.       Does the role holder receive, understand and convey straightforward information in a clear and accurate manner?

2.       Does the role holder receive, understand and convey information which needs careful explanation or interpretation to help others understand, taking into account what to communicate and how best to convey the information to others?

3.       Does the role holder receive, understand and convey complex conceptual ideas or complex information which may be highly detailed, technical or specialist?

There are three possible responses to each of these questions:

A   Essential – frequently used

B   Essential – occasionally used

C   Not relevant

Role Analysts examine the evidence in the grading review application to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each question and then to assess the degree to which the activity is undertaken (in order to assign an A, B or C response).  They assess the evidence using detailed guidance notes (built up over the period HERA has been used in St Andrews) and by looking at how other roles have been scored both in the School/Unit and across the University (within the grade, between different grades and across different Job families/Generic role descriptors).  This ensures that roles are being evaluated consistently.     

Once all 50 questions have been allocated a response, the letter responses are put into the HERA software which converts them to numerical values and adds them together to produce a total score for the job.  The total score places the role into a HERA score ranges which will determine whether or not the role has been regraded or has remained within the current grade score range.

While it is technically possible for someone to score up to 1000 points through HERA, realistically no role does as it is highly unlikely that any role would score the maximum points in each element eg a Lecturer would score highly within Teaching and Learning but would score low in the Sensory and Physical Demands element compared to a Labourer;  a Counsellor may have a higher score in the Pastoral Care element than a Cleaner but the Cleaner would score more highly than an Administrator in the Work Environment element and so forth.  Within St Andrews University, the highest scores were 600-650.

Grading review applications are assessed by panels of Role Analysts drawn from Human Resources (HR) and the University’s recognised trade unions (UCU, Unison and Unite).   The applications are initially assessed within Human Resources (as outlined above) to determine any changes to overall score and are then disseminated to the relevant trade union with a recommendation as to whether the role should be regraded or remain at the current grade.  Trade Union members then assess the application and approve the recommendation or discuss any areas of disagreement with HR.  At all stages in the grading review process, the panel may come back to the role holder and/or their manager for further information/clarification.  Once agreement has been reached on the final score (which in turn determines the grade), the outcome is communicated to the role holder and their manager.  


Human Resources

Grading, Reward and Conditions
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 461650