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					TECH NOTE 6                                                                  APRIL 2005



1.    Introduction
1.1   It is inevitable that many queries of interpretation will arise when implementing
      any job evaluation scheme and the Local Government NJC JES is no different.
      Further queries may arise where there are both paper-based and computerised
      versions of a job evaluation scheme, over, for example, how to compare
      outcomes from the two versions, or why they appear to be giving different

1.2   This Technical Note suggests some ways of approaching such queries. It relates
      specifically to the NJC JES, but the principles are equally applicable to other
      similar job evaluation schemes.

2.    Queries of Interpretation in Relation to the Paper-Based Version
      of the NJC JES
2.1   The Local Government NJC JES provides a job evaluation framework or tool. It
      was never intended that all possible issues of interpretation would be covered by
      the scheme documentation or resolved centrally.

2.2   Issues of interpretation are for local joint determination by whichever body is
      allocated this task, for example, steering committee, core evaluation panel. Once
      determined they should be recorded, become part of the local conventions for the
      exercise and be applied consistently thereafter [See Technical Note No. 1, on
      Local Conventions]..

2.3   The only qualifications to this are that all local conventions should be:

          In accordance with the over-riding principles of the scheme – single status,
           equality, jointness and openness
          Consistent with the scheme factor and level definitions, that is, they should
           not re-interpret the factor levels
          Consistent with the national guidance, that is, they should not over-ride
           national guidance.

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3.    The Principles of the Gauge Computerised Version of the
      NJC JES
3.1   The Gauge version of the local government NJC JES was designed to be
      capable of delivering the same outcomes as the paper-based version.

3.2   A common query and complaint is that Gauge and paper-based version
      outcomes differ. There are only 3 possible reasons why this might appear to be
      the case:

         (1) Errors of interpretation or consistency in relation to the paper-based
             version of the scheme
         (2) Errors of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the Gauge questions
         (3) A combination of (1) and (2)

3.3   Each apparent variation, from the benchmark exercise, for example, should be
      investigated to find out where the difference arises and to jointly agree what is the
      preferred interpretation. This could lead to:

         (1) A modification to the paper-based factor evaluation and, if necessary, an
             additional or amended local convention
         (2) A re-working of the Gauge question trace and, if necessary, an additional
             or amended local help screen.
         (3) A combination of (1) and (2)

3.4   Experience indicates that it is generally worth pursuing all variations between
      paper-based and Gauge outcomes at the benchmark stage to avoid them
      becoming major problems at a later stage.

4.    Tools for Dealing with Queries of Interpretation on the Gauge
4.1   Some queries arise because the Gauge questions are inevitably read in isolation
      from the relevant factor level context. The Gauge System has a number of in-built
      tools to assist users in resolving queries of interpretation:

            The Gauge Help-Text document sets out all the questions in the system
             and the related help-texts, both national and local. This provides an
             immediate reference point for queries.
            The Gauge Question Library lists the questions with the resulting
             eliminations of factor levels, shown as horizontal bar charts, and the routes
             between questions. Where a query is not resolved by reference to the
             Help-Text document, it may be useful to consult the Question Library to
             identify those questions (and thus factor levels) already addressed by
             someone answering the query question; and the possible forward routes.

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            The question pathways map. This provides a quick visual reference point
             for the previous and possible subsequent questions and potential factor
             level outcomes.

4.2   If none of these provides the means for resolving the query, then recourse should
      be had to the paper-based version of the scheme.

      Example Query: How should Q425 be Answered for a Data Input Job?

      Step 1:      Check the question and national help-text. These refer only to
                   computer programming and computerised management systems.
                   There is no national help-text. There is no local help-text at the point
                   at which this query is raised.

      Step 2:      Check the Question Library. In this example case it is clear, working
                   backwards from Q425, that the jobholder must previously have
                   answered Q423 (on whether keyboard skills required are
                   ‘substantially greater than those needed for e-mails, memos, short
                   letters or the equivalent’ and before that Q403 (on whether the job
                   requires keyboard skills). It is also apparent that a Yes answer will
                   deliver up to level 5, but a No will restrict the job to level 2.

      Step 3:      Check the question pathway on the elimination chart to confirm the
                   possible outcomes.

      Step 4:      If the query is still not resolved, check the paper-based version of
                   the scheme. It is clear from this that data input jobs should come out
                   at level 4. From the previous investigations it is obvious that the
                   answer to Q425 must be Yes.

      Step 5:      Amend or add new local help-text for Q425, to the effect that those
                   using keyboard skills for their main job duties e.g. data input, word
                   processing should answer Yes to this question.

5.    Resolving Queries of Apparent Inconsistencies of Outcome
      Between the Gauge and Paper-Based Versions of the Scheme
5.1   Where paper-based and Gauge versions of the scheme appear to be giving
      different outcomes, these should be investigated and resolved.

      Example Query: We are getting different outcomes on our paper-based and
      Gauge outcomes under the Mental Demands factor with jobs generally
      scoring higher on the paper-based evaluations than on Gauge. Why is this?

      Step 1:      Check the Gauge questions and help-screens, noting that the
                   questions ask ‘Typically, for how long at any one time does this

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                  level of attention have to be applied? Compare this with paper-
                  based rationales and questionnaires to see whether periods of
                  attention have been cumulated to give longer periods of time.

      Step 2:     If Yes, agree whether periods of time should be cumulated or not
                  and then apply this consistently by adding paper-based local
                  conventions or Gauge local help-texts as appropriate.

      Step 3:     If No, check all other aspects of the criteria, for example, are the
                  different levels of attention being applied in the same way? If not,
                  which is the agreed preferred intepretation, then apply to both
                  paper-based and Gauge evaluations.

6.    Resolving Apparent Problems with the Gauge System
6.1   There should be no apparent problems with the Gauge System that cannot be
      resolved by appropriate local help-screens.

      Example Query: The Knowledge Factor Levels 6, 7 and 8 were used for a
      number of jobs in our paper-based benchmark pilot exercise, but our Gauge
      pilot has no jobs higher than level 6 and only a few at this level. How can we
      resolve this?

      Step 1:     Check the paper-based evaluations. Are the evaluators satisfied
                  that these are correct? If No, re-visit these evaluations. If Yes,
                  review the relevant Gauge question traces

      Step 2:     Work through the Gauge question trace for the jobs under
                  consideration to identify where the issue arises. This is likely to be
                  at Q118, Is this level of theoretical knowledge required across a
                  whole specialist area? The national help-screen then gives
                  examples of ‘whole specialist areas’ e.g. social work, local
                  government finance, law; and specific specialist areas e.g. child
                  protection within social work, conveyancing within law.

                  The national help-text then goes on to explain that where a job
                  covers a specific specialist area but requires advanced theoretical
                  knowledge across the whole area as background for decision
                  making, this may justify a Yes answer.

      Step 3:      If the jobs under consideration have No answers to this question,
                  then it could be appropriate to introduce a local help-screen to the
                  effect that those working in the specific area but requiring to be
                  professionally qualified across the whole specialist area should
                  answer Yes to this question, so that for example a conveyancing job
                  requiring only conveyancing training and knowledge would then

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                   answer No, but a job leading the conveyancing team and requiring
                   full legal training and qualifications should answer Yes.

7.    Summary
7.1   As with all JE schemes, it is the consistent application of the rules and
      conventions of the scheme within the organisation that is paramount. There will
      be minor differences between Authorities in the ways in which each authority
      interprets and applies the NJC JES scheme (using either the paper-based or the
      Gauge version). This does not matter as long as each authority is consistent
      within itself and maintains the criteria set out in paragraph 2.3 above.

8.    Further Information
8.1   If the above strategies do not resolve queries of interpretation, then there are
      further sources of advice:

          NJC Associate Consultants
          Employers Organisation
          Pilat Help-desk (for software queries only)

8.2   All experience is that serious queries of interpretation are best resolved at an
      early stage of the exercise, if they are not to lead to major problems, delays and
      need for re-working of evaluations at a later date.

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