The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework
Surrey PCT is committed through Agenda for Change that all directly
employed PCT staff adhere to national guidance on the Knowledge and Skills
The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework, or KSF, is the staff development
part of Agenda for Change. According to Agenda for Change all NHS
employees should have a KSF profile (called a Post Outline) as part of their
job description and have an annual KSF-based appraisal (called a KSF
Personal Development Review).
The KSF is intended to provide a single, consistent, comprehensive and
explicit framework on which to base review and development for all staff and
provides the basis of pay progression within pay bands.
The KSF is made up of 30 dimensions, which describe the competencies,
knowledge and skills required for each job. 6 of the dimensions are defined as
‘core’ to the NHS and these 6 dimensions will occur in everyone’s job. A
further 24 specific dimensions relate to some posts and not others. Most jobs
will only use 2 or 3 of these specific dimensions.
Each dimension has 4 levels and a title which describes what the level is
about. Attached to the descriptions of each level are various KSF Indicators.
These indicators describe how knowledge and skills need to be applied at that
level. This means that for an individual to meet a defined level they have to be
able to show they can apply knowledge and skills to meet all of the indicators
in that level. Alongside each level title and indicators are some examples of
application which are evident in the job description. These show how the NHS
KSF might be applied in different posts.
An individual member of staff needs to apply the knowledge and skills in their
dimensions to achieve the expectations of the post.
The KSF Performance Development Review
All staff in Surrey PCT must undertake an annual KSF Personal Development
Review (PDR) with their manager or reviewer and record the outcomes on the
e-KSF online tool www.e-ksf.org The review should be based on looking at
how the individual is applying their knowledge and skills to meet the demands
of the post as described in the KSF outline for that post.
This is a joint process which, as well as assessing their competency to do
their job, will identify whether or not the member of staff has any development
needs. Such needs are then specified in a Personal Development Plan (PDP)
for that individual, detailing any learning and development which needs to
take place in the coming months and including the date of the next review.
Guidance on the PDR process can be found in the trust PDR Policy.
Further reviews should evaluate the learning and development gained from
the previous plan and should reflect on how it has been applied to work.
In Surrey PCT the Personal Development Plan is very important. All staff must
demonstrate in their KSF PDP the need for any particular training that they
How Does the KSF Affect Pay?
The KSF does not affect which pay band an individual member of staff is
placed upon - that is the role of the Agenda for Change job evaluation system.
However, each of the pay bands has a number of pay points and the KSF will
be used to inform individuals’ development within these pay bands.
In most years pay progression will take the form of an annual increase in pay
from one pay point within a pay band to the next. However, at certain defined
points in a pay band - known as ‘gateways’ – decisions must be made about
whether or not the member of staff should pass through dependant upon their
There are two gateways in each of the nine pay bands. The Foundation
Gateway takes place no later than twelve months after an individual is
appointed to a pay band regardless of the pay point to which the individual is
appointed. The Second Gateway is set at a fixed point towards the top of a
pay band as follows:
Pay band Position of second gateway
Pay band 1 Before final point
Pay bands 2 – 4 Before first of last two points
Pay bands 5 – 7 Before first of last three points
Pay band 8, ranges A – D Before final point
Pay band 9 Before final point
Within the first year of a new appointment to a post, new staff should have at
least two discussions with their manager. The purpose of these discussions is
to enhance learning and development in the first year in post and to make
sure the individual is getting the support they need.
The purpose of the foundation gateway is to check that individuals can meet
the basic demands of their post on that pay band and the foundation gateway
review is based on a subset of the full KSF outline for the post. Its focus is the
knowledge and skills that need to be applied from the outset in a post coupled
with the provision of planned development in the foundation period of up to 12
The purpose of the second gateway is to confirm that individuals are applying
their knowledge and skills to consistently meet the full demands of their post –
as set out in the full KSF outline for that post. Having gone through the
second gateway, individuals will progress to the top of the pay band provided
they continue to apply the knowledge and skills required to meet the KSF
outline for that post.
Staff will automatically progress through the increments within their pay band
unless it is a gateway review. If a reviewee is unable to demonstrate the skills
necessary to fulfil the KSF outline at a gateway review they can be deferred
from progressing through that pay point. A short term action plan will then
need to be agreed by the reviewer and reviewee to ensure progression can
be made at a later date once the skills can be demonstrated. Full details are
outlined in the PDR Policy.
Surrey PCT expects all staff to use the web-based e-KSF toolkit at www.e-
ksf.org for documenting the outcomes of the PDR. The e-KSF supports all
elements of the KSF development process, including the creation of Post
Outlines and Personal Development Plans (PDPs) and the recording of
Personal Development Reviews (PDRs).
All staff have been added to the e-KSF online tool through the electronic staff
record (ESR). Staff must logon to the tool and activate their account and set
up new passwords for security reason.
Staff can logon now with:
Login : firstname_lastname
Any problems logging on contact:
Catherine Ray, KSF Administrator
Tel: 01932 723387
Other contacts and Information:
Helen Edgerton L&D Business Manager
Tel: 01932 723880
Further information can be found at: www.e-ksfnow.org