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NEW PDR Conversations

The PDR process is changing. Unison and HR are having conversations about this .

Here is a letter from HR's Claire Ward from 26/03/15 to colleagues about this matter.


Dear Colleague


RE: Performance Development Conversations


We have been meeting weekly over a series of months to consult on proposed changes to the current PDR framework. I am sure that you will agree that whilst these have been challenging and on occasion difficult discussions we have made significant progress in identifying key changes that we can agree on. As agreed I have outlined below a summary of my understanding of your concerns regarding the current arrangements and the final management proposals. It would be invaluable to have a prompt response outlining your position on the matter.


In the course of the consultation you have raised a number of significant concerns regarding the current scheme, many of which have been echoed in the feedback we've received from employees and managers.


Key points from feedback:


  • The application of the scheme is perceived as inconsistent and unfair
  • The scoring is too subjective and not applied consistently
  • The scheme lends itself to an approach based on two annual conversations rather than an expectation of ongoing dialogue regarding performance
  • Employee development is viewed as a subsidiary agenda item
  • The process is bureaucratic and an additional activity rather than adding value
  • Something done to employees by their managers


Not withstanding your substantive position that you want a separation between performance & development and pay I am sure you recognise that we have made significant progress in addressing the concerns you have raised. The proposals for the new scheme are based on the following principles:


  1. Regular, continuous conversations
    • Led through existing regular supervision meetings
  • About behaviour
    • Supports objectives
    • Discussed & evidenced as part of regular supervision meetings
    • Have a more direct link to professional competency frameworks
  1. Development offer and ask
    • Linked to mandatory requirements, service priorities as well as individual
    • Agreed/discussed in supervisions
    • Requires a framework & guidance
  2. Presumption of success
  3. 5. Developing and Achieving
    • Clear expectations set out at the beginning
    • Achieving is "delivering the day job"
    • Developing may be acceptable for people in new roles
  1. 6. High Performing receives more non financial reward
  • Becomes a ‘Champion’; mentors new-comers/learners or others
  1. Quality Assurance Framework
    • Surveys, mystery shoppers, audits, local performance accountability, Equality Analysis


The key proposed changes to the scheme are as follows:


  • managers and employees will move away from the current “parent-child” relationship, where managers are perceived to “do PDR to their employees” to prevent their team increments from exceeding their budgets; to a partnering relationship, where manager and employee both win by working together, to maximize and develop the employee’s performance, so that more increments are earned, than has been the case in the past.
  • behavioural, task and personal goals, covering the whole of each employee’s work, will be set at the beginning of the performance year, and revised to keep pace with shifting needs and priorities, as the year pans out.
  • managers and employees will have regular performance conversations, where manager coaching enables employees to achieve their best possible performance, while identifying and progressing associated development activities
  • development progress will be reviewed, and performance against task and behavioural goals will be measured and rated, at the end of the performance year. Employees who achieve and are not at the top of their grade will receive a pay increment; employees who fail to meet the standard required will not receive an increment
  • robust quality assurance processes and practices will ensure that each employee has an equal opportunity to take part in sufficient quantity and quality performance conversations, to provide them with a fair and consistent chance to achieve improved performance, and to receive an increment where they achieve acceptable standards of performance
  • the new scheme has been reconfigured, to remove time served increments, with all employees required to meet a minimum standard to achieve a pay increase. The scheme has been built on a presumption that more employees are likely to meet the required standards and as such, the financial costings have been modelled on a higher percentage of employees being eligible to achieve a performance-related pay increment. This will increase the council’s pay bill.

The new Performance Development Conversations are a radical departure from the old framework and will be a strong symbol of the move to a more values lead organisational culture where how you do something is as important as delivering the task itself. We are seeking your agreement to these changes, there is a real opportunity to work collectively to support employees to positively participate in the new scheme. Clearly a positive early indicator of intent is the collaborative work that has started between the training sections of your union and the council regarding supporting employees' development needs.

As discussed we are wanting to proceed with a soft launch of the new scheme in terms of the basic principles in relation to the initial review of development needs and goal setting in early April. Whilst this will be ahead of formal decision making in respect of the financial aspects of the scheme we are of the view that there is no inherent conflict with existing policy in seeking to do this.


I look forward to receiving your early response and once again thank you for your constructive participation in the consultation process.


Claire Ward

HR Business Partner

Birmingham City Council



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