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Background

This report was commissioned by the Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR) to  investigate  the  effects  of  Agenda for  Change  (AfC)  on  the  career  progression  of  the radiographic  workforce  in  the  National  Health  Service  in England  and  Wales. The  aims  of  the  project  were  to investigate  these effects  within  the  following  three  career impact categories:

  • Career development expectations
  • Career progression opportunities
  • Barriers to and incentives for career progression

“beyond being simply a new pay system”
NHS Employers

Nature of research

A  multi-method  approach  was  adopted  to  meet  the requirements of the project:

  • A literature review
  • Interviews with key stakeholders
  • An online survey of the radiographic workforce, supported by follow-up interviews with volunteers from the survey

The  full  report  contains the  results of  each  of  these  three research stages, together with key findings, conclusions and resulting  recommendations  for  the  SCoR. The project was undertaken from November 2008 to May 2009.

Literature review

Agenda  for  Change was  the  greatest  overhaul  of  pay  and conditions since the inception of the NHS. It was designed to introduce equity, facilitate  career progression for healthcare staff,  and  improve  patient  services.  Whitley  terms  and conditions were replaced by a pay banding system linked to the  newly  developed  Knowledge  and  Skills  Framework (KSF).

"The Whitley scale was no longer fit for purpose. There was the recognition that the existing structures were not conducive to modernising careers and modernising work practices..."

A  large  proportion  of  radiographers  were  antagonistic towards  AfC  from  the  start  and,  unlike  other  healthcare professions,  voted  against  it. However,  the  literature revealed that dissatisfaction with AfC was not confined to the radiographic  workforce.  There  was widespread  belief  that AfC was poorly implemented resulting  in  serious  inequities. Furthermore,  although  AfC  aimed to  reward  clinical expertise,  some  studies  indicated that  a  lack  of  vacancies and funding continue to hamper career progression.

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