Staff Review and Development Scheme
1: There is one agreed scheme, with no local variations
Most importantly there is only one Scheme – there should be no local variations or reinterpretations. The scheme is not a green light for rampant managerialism across the institution. Its mechanism is underpinned by the national Framework Agreement, local agreement and additional national guidance. This is paramount as the negotiations around SRDS were clouded by the accidental release of a senior management paper describing the institution’s real motives for the scheme, which we were then at considerable pains to bring back into the spirit of the national agreement. You will notice that the words ‘performance management’ and ‘appraisal’ are not used within the Scheme and this is no accident. The SRDS is entirely separate from procedures relating to capability or poor performance and records are not to be used in disciplinary procedures. It is intended to be a supportive and developmental exercise, a ‘joint professional task between reviewer and reviewee’.
SRDS will be essential in the operation of the new promotions arrangements to ensure that role development occurs appropriately within the grade. It is the responsibility of the Reviewer to flag to the Head of unit if this is not the case and appropriate development opportunities must then be prioritised. The Reviewer will also give guidance on readiness for promotion but it should be clear that the review is quite separate from the role analysis process itself, albeit that an agreed summary from an SRDS record may be used positively in support of a promotion application.
2: SRDS is separate from Pay
Secondly, the exercise is entirely separate from pay. The usual annual increments are the normal expectation regardless of any agreed performance objectives under the Scheme. Reviewers may make positive recommendations to a Head of unit regarding discretionary or additional salary increments but they have no further input to the process.
3: Reviewers should not be “imposed”
Thirdly, the School/Unit must establish a pool of reviewers, with due regard to diversity factors, and must also allow individuals to state a preference for an individual Reviewer (who may be a peer). Heads are required to take account of this preference. The intention is to avoid disputes and personality clashes from the outset. Some academic related staff may wish to be reviewed by ‘line managers’ but this is not a requirement, especially if there have been ‘issues’ between the parties in the past or if one individual is over-burdened with reviews. The selection for academics should be much wider than, for example, a nominated senior professor in a similar area acting in a management capacity. Similarly some researchers might express a preference to be reviewed by project PIs but others explicitly not.
4: The review process is confidential
Finally, the review paperwork is confidential to the two parties and the Head of unit and must remain so. Nobody should review or be reviewed who has not received training in the operation of the scheme.