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Non-NHS pay and conditions

Due to the diverse nature of employers within the independent (non-NHS) sector, the onus is on you to negotiate pay and conditions.

Agenda for Change

In the NHS, national collective bargaining takes place between NHS employers and the health unions: this national bargaining led to the Agenda for Change (AfC) agreement which harmonised the pay, grading and conditions of service of NHS staff.

In the non-NHS sector, where the CSP is not automatically recognised to negotiate pay, terms and conditions on behalf of members, Agenda for Change doesn't normally apply.

While non-NHS employers may adopt some elements of Agenda for Change, don't expect the whole AfC package to be on offer as part of your terms and conditions of employment. Indeed, your terms and conditions may be completely different.

Member survey

A CSP survey of members employed outside of the NHS, conducted in April 2013, found:

Over a third of our members work outside the NHS, in places such as independent hospitals, charities and the voluntary sector, industry, higher education, sports clubs, the MOD, the leisure industry, and in private practice.

  • 18% of respondents say they received a pay rise in 2013, 32% last year and 12% in 2011
  • Just one-fifth of respondents receive an automatic incremental rise annually
  • Just over a quarter say that an element of their pay is performance related, with 86% saying this is linked to individual performance and 41% saying it is linked to the overall performance of the organisation
  • 47% regularly work additional hours, over and above those specified in their contracts, with 41% working four or more hours a week in overtime, and 34% saying this overtime is not compensated in any way
  • Two thirds of respondents say their employer contributes to their pension with a similar proportion making their own contributions to this pension. Just one-fifth have a separate private pension. A large proportion indicated a general lack of knowledge about their pension arrangements.
  • Just half of respondents say their employers provide occupational sick pay above the statutory minima
  • 42% of respondents say their employer fully funds their attendance / access to identified CPD activities, with a similar proportion partially funding them.
  • 85% have a formal annual performance review and 35% were aware of consultation mechanisms to discuss pay and terms and conditions of employment with staff with their organization.

Compared to a similar survey in 2011:

  • more respondents were aware of staff consultation mechanisms over pay and terms and conditions
  • a fall in the incidence of performance related pay, especially linked to individual and team performance
  • respondents waiting less time for a pay rise
  • a growth in unpaid overtime worked
  • more respondents working for employers offering sick pay provisions above the legal minima.

Download your copy of the report

It's up to you

In the independent sector, the absence of collective bargaining with the CSP as a trade union means the onus is on you to negotiate for yourself. Where this is the case, you may have a less than clear view on whether your pay and conditions are comparable with your colleagues within the same or similar organisations, or with the NHS.

Having an understanding of current trends in pay and terms and conditions of employment is important. Agenda for Change (see the NHS Employers website: can provide some benchmarking information. Knowledge of economic indicators (see piece on the UK Statistics Authority website can also provide arguments to support requests for pay increases and improvements to terms and conditions.

Help from Employment Relations & Union Services (ERUS)

Detrimental proposals on your terms and condition?

Contact the CSP and talk to your CSP regional negotiating officer if you want advice about a workplace issue you are informing us about. Call the Enquiry Handling Unit on 020 7306 6666.

Please also use our online member feedback to tell us about any planned changes.

In the NHS, pay and conditions are largely transparent. This is not the case in the independent sector, so gaining an informed view of what makes up the average pay and reward package is much more difficult. If each year you have to negotiate your own pay uplift, this can be an almost impossible task without knowing what is happening with other comparable employers. This is where the CSP can help.

Our ERUS function produces a number of information papers that are of specific interest to members working outside of the NHS, including information on Agenda for Change, which may help inform your pay negotiations. Relevant titles can be located in this section of the website. ERUS can also help with:

  • advice in terms of constructing pay claims
  • advice on contracts of employment and self-employed relationships
  • pay surveys of groups of members by sector
  • supporting claims for trade union recognition
  • support at grievance and disciplinary hearings and at Employment Tribunals
  • advice on Health and Safety issues at the workplace

Higher education

While the CSP is not recognised for the purposes of collective bargaining within higher education, we do have partnership agreements with the relevant education unions to represent CSP members.



More from the CSP

Last reviewed

7 November 2014
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