Performance and development appraisal policy

Policy overview

We will not rate employee performance during 2021. Increments are payable unless decided otherwise through the capability or probation policies. The following parts of this policy are on hold and will be reviewed during 2021:

  • five-point scale performance ratings
  • links of performance ratings to pay and withholding of increments
  • rating against each core value and behaviour

These sections have therefore been temporarily removed.

Our performance and development programme includes annual appraisals and regular one to one discussions. The purpose of the process is to:

  • ensure that we can deliver services to agreed standards by having the right skills:
    • in the right place
    • at the right time
    • to the required capacity
  • develop and support all employees to do their job well. This enables them to deliver our priorities for the benefit of our customers and communities
  • ensure we are working as one council and through our partners to provide effective and efficient services
  • maximise the capacity, resilience and flexibility of staff and resources to deliver our priorities
  • develop and retain professional skills through development of career pathways

We will recognise individual performance and contributions through:

  • annual appraisals
  • regular one to one discussions in-between appraisals

Performance management framework

All performance and development appraisals are part of our performance management framework.

Our performance and development appraisals:

Some areas may wish to use:

  • professional competencies
  • standards set by relevant professional bodies

We want to ensure that employees at all levels can see and understand that the objectives we set contribute to the council's success.

Appraisers must ensure that all appraisals are fair and equitable for all appraisees, in line with our diversity and inclusion policy.

Formal disciplinary and grievance issues are not part of the performance and development appraisal procedure. We will deal with these separately. We will record any issues about poor performance in the appraisal meeting documentation. We want to ensure that any contradictory messages given to the employee do not undermine the formal monitoring of performance (through the capability policy).

We do not usually allow electronic, audio or video recordings of performance and development appraisal meetings. The appropriate senior manager must give express authorisation before any such recording takes place.

This policy aims to create a performance management framework to ensure that all employees:

  • have an annual face-to-face performance and development appraisal meeting
  • receive regular one to one meetings with their line manager to discuss their performance during the year and discuss:
    • wellbeing
    • progress on objectives
    • work activity
    • learning
    • development
  • know, at the beginning of their employment, the standard of performance we expect
  • will have an initial appraisal shortly after starting their employment or new post
  • are set appropriate, outcome-focussed and SMART objectives with their appraiser to achieve over the year, which are linked to the corporate plan priorities
  • are made aware of any areas in their work that are not to the required standard
  • receive recognition for their achievements
  • receive regular feedback with the aim to support and to improve and develop their performance
  • identify with their line manager their learning and development needs and aspirations in a development plan
  • have their objectives linked to our values and behaviours
  • can identify skills and knowledge development needs

Appraisal core principles

All employees will take part in a formal annual performance and development appraisal process.

The appraisal year runs from April and is reviewed by the end of March the following year.

Objective setting 

Individual performance objectives should relate to the overall objectives of the service area. 

Appraisers will: 

  • set objectives in line with the corporate plan and with the responsibility level and scope of work in the appraisee's current job description (and role descriptor where this exists) 
  • discuss and confirm any significant changes to objectives and action plans with the individual employee 
  • assess performance against objectives, targets and values by objective evidence.
  • share responsibility with the appraisee for monitoring progress on the agreed objectives 
  • demonstrate the consistency of objectives set across their team to their line manager 

We will factor long-term planned absences into objective-setting timescales. Where appropriate, we will hold a performance and development appraisal before the absence starts. 

Recording 

We will keep a written record of all performance and development appraisal meetings. They must be typed into the appraisal form and saved to a secure location. 

There is a suggested template available to record one to ones.

Meeting dates of appraisals are recorded on the appraisee's Business World employment record by the appraiser. One to one meetings can be recorded as 'supervision'.

The electronic, audio or video recording by any device of appraisal meetings will not be permitted, unless express authorisation has been received from the appropriate senior manager prior to any such recording taking place.

Confidentiality 

The appraisal document will remain confidential between: 

  • the appraisee
  • the appraiser 
  • the appraiser's manager 

Support 

Appraisers will ask the appraisee if they need any additional support or equipment to perform their role effectively. This may be ICT equipment or flexible working arrangements. They should discuss whether they need any reasonable adjustments or are still appropriate, if already in place, to support a disability.  

Assessment 

The five-point rating scale is under review during the 2021 appraisal year.  At the end of year review, managers will assess any objectives as:

  • met
  • partially met
  • not met

Mitigating circumstances 

Employees may fail to achieve objectives due to issues outside their control. Managers must consider this when they assess performance. Managers should disregard objectives that employees could not achieve because they were outside their control. 

Professional competencies

Professional competencies may be used within the appraisal process alongside the corporate values and behaviours and the appraisal form. The use of professional competencies must be approved by the relevant director. 

New starters and types of contract

We will set objectives for all new employees in their initial performance and development appraisal. We will monitor these objectives over the first six months of their employment through the probation procedure.

Internal moves  

An employee may move to another role during the appraisal year. Before they leave, we will review their performance against objectives set at the beginning of the year. We will set new objectives in their new role, achievable by the following March. 

Change of manager during the appraisal year  

The previous and new managers should discuss the best approach to ensure: 

  • the objectives remain relevant  
  • they review performance over the full year 

The previous manager may be required to provide relevant information to the new manager.

Temporary and fixed-term contracts  

We will set objectives and a development plan for all employees on a temporary and fixed-term contract. They will be appropriate to the length of their employment. We will review this through performance and development appraisal meetings and one to ones.  

Where possible, we will align performance and development appraisal meetings to the appraisal year from April to March. This will ensure consistency with permanent employees. 

Long-term absences, including maternity or adoption leave 

If employees are absent during an appraisal year, managers will review objectives and timescales to accommodate the absence where possible. Absences due to a disability, maternity or adoption should not affect the overall outcome of the appraisal.  An informal approach will be taken based on individual circumstances.

Multiple post-holders 

Employees who have more than one post may receive more than one performance and development appraisal meeting. We will consider whether we can merge the meetings and set objectives. 

Job share arrangements 

Job share partners can share some objectives and outcomes and have individual objectives. We will base evidence and assessment on the personal impact on the outcome. We will plan and evidence behaviours and development for each person.   

Secondments 

We will review the progress of employees who are due to start a secondment against the objectives from their substantive post. We will do this before they move to their new post. We may amend the objectives or reallocate them as appropriate for the duration of the secondment. 

The new manager will hold a performance and development appraisal when the secondment commences. They will set new objectives. 

An employee may return to their substantive post before the end of the appraisal year. In this case, we will include the outcome of their secondment performance and development appraisal at the end of year review.

Relief staff 

Relief staff may have a performance and development appraisal if they have or will regularly work for six months or more.

Agency workers 

Guidelines state that agency workers are not entitled to an appraisal from the host organisation. Supervisors should ensure that everyone working for us has a clear understanding of: 

  • the work we expect them to complete  
  • our values and behaviours

Capability policy

The capability policy applies when an employee is failing to carry out their duties in a satisfactory manner due to capability. Where we do not apply this policy, we will put in place an informal development plan. The aim of this is to ensure that the employee's performance level improves.  

If there is no improvement, we will apply the formal capability procedure

We may withhold an increment as a formal action under the capability policy. We will not withhold increments for more than a year if their performance improves to the required level.