The job description


It is a legal requirement (Employment Rights Act) to provide the job title and a brief description of the work as well as other employment particulars within two months of the start of employment.

The recruitment process should begin with the formulation of a clearly written job description that describes accurately  the duties and responsibilities  of the post holder. The key to creating a well-written job description is to make it detailed enough to describe the most important aspects of the job, but still be manageable and understandable.


What to Include

The purpose of providing information is to:

  • Present a positive image of the Methodist Church
  • Assist interested parties to decide whether to apply, that is, to 'self-select'
  • Avoid subsequent misunderstandings about the role and/or the terms and conditions of appointment

The amount of detail provided to prospective candidates will depend on the type of post that is being advertised.   A more detailed description of the job profile including background information may be appropriate if the appointment requires someone who:

  • Will have undertaken specific types of training
  • Will be expected to have gained specific working experience

The following information should appear in all job descriptions:

  • Job Title
  • Normal place of work
    Where the job is home-based, it is the line manager's responsibility to ensure that the appropriate Health and Safety checks are carried out.
  • Purpose of job (the reason why the job exists)
  • Accountability to (that is, to whom the post holder is responsible)
  • Accountability for (any staff who will report directly to the post holder)
  • List of main task sand responsibilities (description of the main activities to be undertaken and what the job holder is expected to achieve)
  • Physical working conditions (for example, office or other accommodation, the need to travel between different locations)
  • Information on the terms and conditions  (salary or wage, expenses and allowances (if applicable), probationary period, hours of work, holiday entitlement, pension scheme, sick pay). 

The following additional information should be included for jobs:

  • A description of the local church (for example, activities, membership, mission statement worship life, ecumenical relationships)
  • An overview of the circuit
  • The membership and responsibilities of any management and support group.  This should include the frequency of meetings, the status of the worker in the meeting and any expectations placed on the worker to report to, and receive instructions from the group.

It would be appropriate to present this type of information in an information sheet and provide it as a supplement to the job description.


When a Job Description is used

Job Descriptions would be used at various stages of the employment relationship:

  • During recruitment it provides essential information to potential recruits (and the recruiting manager) so that they can determine the right kind of person to do the job
  • At Induction it clearly outlines what is expected of the individual and the support required
  • During Probation to set targets and evaluate the performance of new appointees
  • Assessing Training and Development  to act as the reference point for training needs analysis
  • At a Performance & Development Review to identify strengths and weaknesses in performance and to refocus efforts. It is normal to start an appraisal interview by reviewing the contents of a Job Description with the post holder
  • Job Evaluation to provide an objective description of the duties and responsibilities of the post.


Template Document

Two examples of a job description are available at Appendix 5.1 and Appendix 5.2. of the Lay Employment Advisory Information


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