DGCBBackground to the organisations

Citizens Advice and Rights Fife (CARF) and Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service (D&G CAS) are long established Citizens Advice Bureaux. Both organisations provide free, independent, confidential and impartial information and advice as well as having a number of specialist areas of advice and associated projects. Each serves a large local authority area (Fife and Dumfries and Galloway) and has a number of individual bureaux in key towns across their respective areas. Both have employed increased numbers of staff in a relatively short space of time through successfully attracting additional funding. CARF currently employs 63 paid staff whilst D&G CAS has 64 employees – a mix of part-time and full-time staff.

Background to the project
In 2012/13 the SCQF Partnership produced a suite of “How To…” guides to support employers to use the SCQF in the workplace. In 2013/14 the SCQFP wished to trial their use in two pilot projects with employers in different sectors. The guides were to be used with employers in the process of reviewing job descriptions and person specifications, and in recruitment. The aim was to work with the employers to implement the guidance in the first of the “How To…”guides (recruitment and selection) and in using the Employer Levelling Tool.

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How did you get involved in the pilot project?

Both agencies had recognised that they had similar HR related issues and critically identified the need for some major work around job descriptions. This quickly moved into discussions about having some sort of simple to apply framework which could be applied to help staff in the organisation to understand about competencies required, routes for progression and to demonstrate to external parties, including funders and potential employees, that we had an understandable framework which we could use if new opportunities for funding or jobs came along. We realised that we did not have the resources or time for a full job evaluation. We used an existing contact through Minerva People Ltd. who had a good understanding of the SCQF and felt that it could be applied in our organisations. They in turn pointed us to Route to Employment. A proposal was drawn up and resources found from both organisations plus Citizens Advice Scotland with support from the SCQF.

How have you used the SCQF Employer How to … guide and Levelling Tool and how has this benefited your organisation?

We have used the guide to improve existing job descriptions and towards putting in place a framework for both the employees and employer. We have also used the tool to carry out a job levelling exercise which allows staff to understand about progression and comparison with other positions in the sector, as well as allowing funders to see that we are working with a recognised framework and to know and understand the competencies required and to be aimed for. The Levelling Tool is clear and concise, allowing reviewers to follow a very defined and standardised process. It is also very cost effective as it does not incur expensive consultancy costs in comparison to other external job evaluation tools and processes. The huge advantage is that it is an external unbiased tool which gives strength and credibility to the process, and the tool itself has considerable strength as during this process it became apparent the job levels and descriptors lend themselves well to a wide range of jobs at ALL levels of the organisation. Chiefly it has got people in the organisations thinking more about their job roles and their fit with the organisations, as well as the concept of competencies and autonomy vs old style task-orientated job descriptions. It has started us on a journey!

Do you have any plans to further embed the SCQF within your organisation?

We plan to embed the Framework into our respective organisations and to do some further work around person specifications as the next phase.

For more information on how the SCQF can benefit employers, contact the SCQF Partnership on 0845 270 7371 or at info@scqf.org.uk.

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