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Guidance for Regional Advisors on Approving Job Plans

Purpose of approving job plans

The regional advisor's role when approving a job plan is to ensure that the conditions of the post will enable the appointee to deliver a safe and effective service to patients. The advisor needs to ensure the job plan:

  • contains the appropriate balance of activities in relation to clinical, teaching, managerial and research work;
  • allows enough time for teaching and training (if appropriate); and
  • ensures that the necessary support and facilities are available

Basis for Role

Non Foundation Trusts

The Faculty's role in the appointment of consultants is set out in the National Health Service (Appointment of Consultants) Regulations

The Faculty's role in approving job descriptions is an advisory one and it is recommended that NHS trusts should consult with their regional advisor while planning the job description. The employer is not required to amend the job description in light of the comments received from the regional advisor.

Foundation Trusts

The Faculty offers advice on appointments to foundation trusts and the majority of trusts continue to value the input to new appointments provided.

Status of advice

The approval of job descriptions represents an important stage in the local recruitment process. In general, the advice of the regional advisor is valued and well received. However, on occasion some negotiation will be required to ensure that a suitably balanced job description is achieved. The Faculty will support you in this regard.

Lack of approval of a job description will not prevent an employer advertising a post nor will it necessarily prevent the Faculty sending a representative to the AAC, although if concerns are sufficient, the Faculty reserves the position to withdraw from the appointment process.

In the majority of instances participation in the AAC - whether or not the job description has been approved - will allow continuing dialogue and negotiation regarding the job description and ensures external specialty input into the suitability of candidates.

A faculty assessor attending an AAC where the job description has not been approved is advised to contact the relevant regional advisor.

The approval process

The trust sends the job plan to the regional advisor.

To avoid conflicts of interest, representatives should not approve job descriptions for posts in their own employing trust. On such occasions, job descriptions should be approved by a regional advisor in a neighbouring region.

The regional advisor is required to obtain specialty input from the specialty advisor as appropriate and should aim to reply to the trust with comments on the job description and person specification within 15 working days of its receipt.

Any concerns regarding the content of the job description will be resolved at a local level, with the aim of achieving a solution that is in the best interests of the Faculty and employing authority. Any concerns regarding the job description should be raised with the clinical director/medical director of the employing authority at the earliest opportunity and within the 15-day period. If, following discussion, the job description is still not in line with Faculty guidance, the matter should be referred to the Faculty.

Guidance on considering job descriptions

In considering the job description, job plan and person specification for approval, the regional advisor should:

  • ensure that the person specification clearly sets out the necessary qualifications, training and experience for the role;
  • ensure that there is an appropriate balance between clinical, teaching, academic, educational, research and managerial activities;
  • take a strategic view of services in the region: posts should not be assessed in isolation but should take account of the views of commissioners as well as the professional views of the relevant specialty association;
  • have evidence of and be satisfied that the intensity of workload is acceptable, taking into account information on the number of surgeons, emergency on-call commitments, etc;
  • be satisfied that the necessary resources and facilities are available to allow the appointee to carry out the duties of the role as described; and
  • be aware of equality and diversity issues

Regional advisors should not comment on issues relating to terms and conditions of service nor on non-professional issues (eg, the availability of car parking), which are outside their remit.

The person specification

The person specification for the post will specify the selection criteria and should list both the essential and desirable skills and experience required to perform the job, including any subspecialty interest.

The Faculty has developed person specifications for each of the dental specialties.

The job description

The job description will usually provide information on the hospital and surgical department. It should outline the purpose of the job and the key duties and responsibilities. The job description should also include the proposed job plan.

The job plan

As part of the job description for the post, the employer must clearly set out the purpose of the post and the balance of work to be carried out. The balance of activities will usually be documented in the form of a job plan. A job plan is a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities of a consultant and the supporting resources available to carry them out.

The job plan will encompass the categories of work defined in the consultant contract:

  • direct clinical care (DCC)
  • supporting professional activities (SPAs)
  • additional professional responsibilities
  • other duties 

Contacting the Faculty

For enquiries regarding consultant dental appointments and the approval of job descriptions, please email the AAC coordinator Mrs Nikki Walcott

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