Unions and councils agree new Soulbury deal on pay and conditions

Unions and councils agree new Soulbury deal on pay and conditions

National secretary Steve Thomas explains the terms of a new agreement between unions representing non-teaching professionals and the local authorities who employ them, represented by the Local Government Association.

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The Soulbury Committee – the collective bargaining forum that negotiates the salaries and conditions of service of local authority educational advisory staff and other key children’s professionals – has agreed the biggest changes to terms and conditions since 2010.

The report sets out principles around pay and conditions including assessment, professional development, tackling stress, work-life balance and local negotiations. It covers:

  • educational improvement and other children’s services professionals represented by Prospect’s Education and Children’s Services group
  • educational psychologists represented by the Association of Educational Psychologists
  • relevant professionals represented by the National Union of Teachers.

The Soulbury Committee represents a key component of Prospect’s work for members working in local authorities, recognising as it does the distinct needs of non-teaching professionals whose voices might not otherwise be heard. 

The updated report has been sent out to chief executives, directors of education and children’s services in England, as well as councils in Wales. 

This is the first update to the report since 2010, and we strongly recommend that Prospect members employed in Soulbury officer roles in England and Wales take the time to download and read it; members in the group can download it here: https://library.prospect.org.uk/download/2017/00791


Many of the changes are updates to terminology or statute. The report also contains salary rates from 1 September 2016 and 1 September 2017, to reflect recent pay negotiations. In addition there are appendices that Prospect representatives and members should be familiar with.

Structured professional assessments

Appendix D explains the national framework for structured professional assessments (SPA) and provides a framework and good practice. SPAs can have an impact on pay points/progression so it is important that Prospect reps and members understand how their local authorities ensure that the guidance is used.      

Continuing professional development

We have agreed wording in Appendix F on a national framework for continuing professional development. We believe that the principles outlined are also relevant to developing the skills of professionals not covered by the Soulbury Committee.

Where services are provided to schools under other arrangements, such as traded services agreements, Prospect believes local authorities should also ensure that professional development forms part of the service-level agreement. 

We ask members working outside the agreement to give thought to sharing this good practice with colleagues to assess whether it can be applied in your workplaces.

If you need help with this and advice on dealing with your employer, please contact me or your negotiations executives by emailing our Wakefield Office – [email protected]

Work-life-balance and stress

Appendix G provides useful advice about work-life balance and work-related stress, and proposes steps to address issues. It recommends primary, secondary and tertiary interventions, with consideration of preventative strategies.

Local negotiations

While it might be overlooked, Prospect believes that Appendix H, “Consultation and Negotiation at Local Level”, is one of the keys to unlocking the rest of the report for members.

While the Soulbury Committee has developed a significant report, for it to remain a live document we need our local Prospect reps to be familiar with it so as to build their influence within their local authority. This appendix clearly identifies the need to consult Soulbury unions, including Prospect, about proposed changes that might affect our members.  

Prospect is keen to support our reps and would like to hear from you how the updated Soulbury report is being implemented locally. 

Please speak to your negotiations executive in the first instance. If you don’t currently have a local Prospect representative, please have a think about the benefits to you and your colleagues of becoming one.