NOTE: There is a new Simplified KSF available from NHS Employers. Based on the old system, which is described here.
The following information is taken from the Department of Health's document entitled 'The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (NHS KSF) and the Development Review Process'. If you do not work for the NHS, then you can safely ignore this section!
As the name implies, the NHS Knowledge and Skill Framework defines and describes the knowledge and skills that NHS staff require to do their job. The NHS KSF and the development review process were a key part of the career and pay progression strand of Agenda for Change, which you might remember, back in 2005 resulted in new job descriptions being created and allocated to a specific pay band.
The Department of Health list four main purposes of the NHS KSF:
Sounds like your Trust has some work to do eh? It gets better, later on the document states:
The NHS KSF and associated development review process is about the NHS investing in the ongoing development of its entire staff in the future. (p.3)
And further on...
'The NHS KSF and the related development review process is essentially about lifelong learning. The National Agreement includes a commitment to annual development reviews for all staff and a commitment to the development of all staff. Everyone will have his or her own personal development plan - developed jointly in discussion with his or her reviewer. Everyone is expected to develop throughout their time working in the NHS.' (p.17)
Still, with the mention of KSF dimensions, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Lets take a look at how the KSF is structured. It is made up of 30 dimensions, although you will probably only have around 10-14 relating to your role.
The first six are Core Dimensions which relate to all jobs in the NHS. They are:
The other 24 dimensions are specific and as such apply to some, but not all roles in the NHS. Each dimension has four levels, with increasing expectation or sophistication with each level.
For example the level descriptors against dimension 2: Personal and people development are:
For the role of paramedic, you might expect the following specific dimensions:
Your Service may have some slight variation to this, but it gives you an idea.
The development review process consists of four stages:
The review should be undertaken annually with your line manager or other appropriate qualified person. It should not just be a tick box exercise although anecdotally, this is sometimes the case. You can help yourself by doing some preparation, in particular coming up with some form of personal development plan or a SWOT analysis. Once you have got hold of a copy of your KSF job description, you can use the portfolio builder to keep track of how well you are meeting the dimensions relating to your role.