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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Frequently Asked Questions

Job families consist of groups of jobs which share similar characteristics. Within each family there are a number of job profiles against which individual jobs can be matched. The core nature of activities is similar across all levels within each family. The skills, competencies and responsibilities differ between each level of grade providing clearer career progression links.

  • The job family framework will offer consistency and transparency based on the role requirements for each respective grade and area.
  • Employees can be confident in the knowledge that their job description is consistent with other staff members in similar positions, in the same job family and across the University.
  • It provides transparent and logical career paths allowing staff to clearly see what is expected at each level.
  • Job families provide an improved ability to identify skill gaps and plan training and development requirements.

There are four job families:

  • Business Process and People Services (BPPS) – Roles in this family provide a comprehensive service and deliver the efficient administration and governance of the University.
  • Community, Participation and Engagement Services (CPES) – Roles in this family provide an excellent stakeholder experience for our diverse and supportive community.
  • Estates and Information Infrastructure Services (EIIS) – Roles in this family manage and maintain the integrity of University buildings, estates and information services.
  • Technical, Research and Teaching Services (TRTS) – Roles in this family provide creative and analytical input to facilitate the delivery of world-class teaching, learning and research activities.

The University job families framework document available here provides the overall attributes that relate to the roles that sit within each family. If you have any queries in relation to the allocated families for existing roles or for a new role please contact your HR Business Partner or HR Adviser.

Job profiles will be used for all PS roles from grades 1 to 10. They are standard templates for forming job descriptions that contain a more consistent level of detail across the institution. They are generic, not task oriented, containing the purpose of the role and main areas of responsibility. You can find the job profiles here.

Use the Managers guidance provided on the Job Families page to complete a job description.

An online training tool is available here which will help managers to write a job description.

When job families are applied to ‘overlapping’ areas such as colleges, it is suggested that managers from those areas come together to agree consistent job descriptions for relevant roles.

All job profiles have been built and checked against the HERA (Higher Education Role Analysis) job evaluation tool by trained analysts to ensure their content and grade is consistent. Completed job descriptions will be checked by the Reward Team to ensure that there is no grade drift. In the instance of significant contextualisation e.g. addition or removal of aspects, HERA will be used again to ensure that the job description is still pitched at the original grade.

When managers are thinking about a new or changing role, they are encouraged to select the job profile which best fits the responsibilities based on their business requirements which will then indicate the grade of the role. They will need to submit a business case via the planning round explaining the budget they therefore require and the rationale for needing a role to carry out those responsibilities to their UEC lead.

The framework was piloted in a number of areas and with some roles for recruitment.

Yes - feedback from the pilot groups was taken into account and the documents were amended where appropriate. In addition, the guidance documents and online training package were also amended following feedback.

We will continue to monitor the guidance as we move through implementation in 2019 and will advise and update guidance materials as nessasary.

If such situation arises the HR Business Partner or HR Adviser should be contacted. They will discuss the situation with the Head of Department, College or Section to determine whether the grade of the role should be reviewed (the source of the budget to potentially fund this must be identified) or whether the role requires adjustment back to the original grade.

Where appropriate with evidence outlining the additional work over the whole period, a one off payment may be paid to reflect work undertaken at a higher grade. The period of any backdating of pay will differ from case to case depending on the circumstances , but will not extend beyond 1 November 2016 (the point from which the grading moratorium was implemented).

If this is identified contact your HR Business Partner or HR Adviser for advice.

UEC has agreed that the roll out will take place between November 2018 and December 2019. Departments have been contacted to plan implementation within this timescale.

Any recruitment from November 2018 must use the job families framework.

When the job families project work commenced in October 2017 there were 1919 individual job titles in use within the University. Due to the proliferation of job titles there is inconsistency and a lack of clarity across the University so it was proposed to introduce a more consistent naming approach to job roles across the institution.

As part of the job families project, staff, managers and Trade Union representatives were consulted on a proposed bank of job titles.

Implementation based on current state (i.e. no structural change) assumes (at this point) no changes to numbers of staff, grades or FTE.

When implementing job families in your department you will have agreed the contextualisation of the job description with the Reward team in HR and then consulted on the job description with the role holder. Once the job description is finalised then the line manager will email to set up a departmental SharePoint site and upload the documents naming those managers who may need access. HR Business Support will then upload a departmental staff sheet to the site for you to complete with new job families title etc. A letter will then be produced for every individual on the list indicating the new job title and this as well as the finalised job description can be downloaded and distributed by the department. Once this is complete an email to should be sent advising that the department has successfully implemented job families.

Contact Details

Human Resources & Organisation Development
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road