I've pasted below the draft definitions which may be used to define the level of competency of nurses in our hospital. It can easily be applied to any profession I think. The levels are a simple guide and don't relate to Agenda for Change or anything else (as far as I know !).
LEVELS OF ACHEIVEMENT IN SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Novice – Level One
Novices have no experience of the situation they find themselves in, and need to closely follow rules laid down by others in order to operate. They perform tasks without understanding, or referring to, the context in which they are operating.
 Performance is directed with limited autonomy, by following policies and procedures that apply in this setting.
 No experience to draw from.
 Is able to discuss the components of the skill with colleagues but has little opportunity to practice it and needs supervision and guidance.
 Acknowledges own limitations within area of practice.
Advanced Beginner – Level Two
Advanced beginners demonstrate a degree of flexibility in their performance and interprets the rules to meet the needs of the situation, whilst maintaining safety of the patient, colleagues, others and self at all times. They are able to relate to the current situation, based on prior learning.
 Accepts constructive feedback and adapts practice accordingly.
 Is able to identify own limitations.
 Has knowledge and ability to perform skills, but may lack fluency.
 Requires support of supervisors, mentors and colleagues.
 Performance and knowledge is demonstrated. Can respond to the changing needs of colleagues and the situation, seeking appropriate advice if needed.
Competent – Level Three
Competent practitioners are consciously aware of the long-term effects of their actions. They are able to plan the most satisfactory outcome of a situation, and can take appropriate actions to achieve these aims. This requires conscious, abstract and analytical contemplation of a situation.
 Has detailed knowledge of policies and procedures to be applied.
 Discriminates and chooses which policies and procedures apply to a situation.
 Can consciously and deliberately plan. Anticipates outcomes and gives explanations for interpretations made and interventions used.
 Is able to analyse and challenge research, evidence based practice and received opinion.
 Can identify priorities and key issues of a problem.
 Performance is proficient and confident requiring minimum direct supervision.
Proficient (can perform independently) – Level 4
Is able to rationalise the principles involved in safely performing the proceedures
 Performs the preparation and procedures competently independently
 Demonstrates attitudes supporting the need to continue to maintain knowledge and skill to enhance practice and maintain patient safety, eg appraisal, audit, peer review
Expert – Level 5
Is able to teach and supervise other practitioners in performing the proceedures
 Maintains professional knowledge and skills
 Promotes high standards and supports learners
 Demonstrates ability to teach and supervise others
 Highlights awareness of the need to review / audit practice and act on feedback