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HR Policy
To Be Categorised
Head of Learning & Development
HR Policy Group
Director of Workforce, Employee Director
23 April 2010
22 April 2017
22 April 2020

General Note

NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.

New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.


The purpose of this policy is to highlight key elements of the KSF process and its application, clarify the roles and responsibilities of managers and staff and confirm where further guidance can be sourced.


NHS Fife is committed to ensuring staff are supported to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver quality services to patients and service users.

The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) is a single, consistent, comprehensive and explicit process which defines and describes the knowledge and skills required by staff to be effective in their post and support role change.


This policy and associated guidance is applicable to all staff covered by Agenda for Change.


The KSF aims to: ensure effectiveness at work, with managers and staff being clear about the requirements of particular posts and how individuals can be more effective through the provision of appropriate learning and development opportunities; support effective learning and development of individuals and teams – with employees being supported to learn throughout their careers to develop in a variety of ways; and to promote equality and diversity, with every employee having appropriate opportunities for learning and development, facilitated by a systematic structured approach.


Each post in NHS Fife is required to have two KSF post outlines, detailing the knowledge and skills requirements of the job – a foundation outline and a full outline. The foundation outline becomes operational one year following the appointment of a member of staff. The full outline occurs towards the higher end of the pay band, as set out in the Agenda for Change agreement. Pay progression through the ‘foundation’ and ‘full’ ‘gateways’ requires employees to demonstrate at their annual review that they are able to apply the knowledge and skills defined in their post outlines.

KSF post outlines should be regularly reviewed to ensure continuing relevance and updated as appropriate to reflect changing requirements of the post.


The development review process is an ongoing cycle of review, planning, development and evaluation supporting individuals to meet the demands of their post.

All members of staff will have an NHS KSF personal development plan (PDP) in place which sets out the agreed learning and development needs of the employee and how these will be addressed in the forthcoming year.

New members of staff, and those returning from long term absence or maternity leave who do not already have a PDP in place, should have an agreed PDP in place as soon as practicable. Good practice suggests the PDP should be agreed and in place no later than 3 months after taking up post.

The personal development plan will be reviewed on an annual basis and the outcome of the review recorded on e-KSF.

The main purpose of the personal development review is to enable the reviewer (normally the line manager) and the member of staff to jointly examine how the individual reviewee is evidencing the application of the requisite knowledge and skills to meet the requirements of their current post and to identify and address development needs.

The development review has four stages:

  • A joint review using the relevant post outline between the individual and their reviewer to consider the individual’s work and the demands of their post.
  • The production of a PDP which identifies the individual’s learning and development needs and how these will be met – the plan is jointly agreed between the individual and their reviewer.
  • The individual undertaking appropriate learning and development activities as agreed with their reviewer (normally the line manager).
  • An evaluation of the learning and development that has taken place and how it has been applied by the individual in their work.

This cycle is then repeated at least annually.


Line Managers

Line Managers are responsible for:

  • Developing, agreeing and the assigning of KSF post outlines for new posts and updating existing outlines to ensure continuing relevance.
  • Ensuring all staff participate in the development and review process.
  • Ensuring all staff have a KSF/PDP which is reviewed at least annually.
  • Ensuring appropriate prioritisation of learning and development needs.
  • Maintaining records of learning and development activities undertaken as well as maintaining a record of any request for learning and development not able to be supported.
  • Ensuring fair application of incremental progression through ‘gateways’.
  • Monitoring the application of the KSF process within their area of responsibility.
  • Ensuring all PDPs and reviews are recorded on e-KSF

It is recognised that in agreeing an individual’s PDP, the manager needs to ensure the PDP is realistic and achievable, taking account of a range of factors, including:

  • Organisational and operational priorities
  • NHS Fife’s Strategies and Plans
  • The learning and development needs identified
  • Availability of resources and capacity to support the individual PDPs.


Employees are responsible for:

  • Participating in the PDP development and review process.
  • Agreeing and assuming ownership for fulfilling the requirements of their PDP.
  • Identifying areas where further development action is required.
  • Demonstrating and providing evidence of competence as required by their post outline(s).
  • Participating in the review of KSF post outlines where changes in responsibilities have been agreed.


Further information and guidance can be sourced from:

  • NHS Fife’s KSF guidance booklet and support materials
  • A range of advice and guidance contained in KSF Public Folder (NHS Fife Intranet)
  • The NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework and Development Review Process (Scottish Executive, October 2004)

(All documents are available on the NHS Fife Intranet)

  • The OD and Learning Directorate and the HR Directorate.
  • NHS Scotland Personal Development, Planning and Review PIN policy (2011)
  • NHS Scotland 20:20 Workforce Vision


The Director of Workforce is responsible for the ongoing review of the application of this policy. The policy will be formally reviewed on an bi-annual basis.

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