Advice to members

The performance management system is deeply unfair and discriminatory.

The Cabinet Office’s own figures demonstrate this year after year.

PCS is demanding that the current performance management system is scrapped and replaced with a system which is fair and equitable. We are continuing to expose the unfair nature of the performance management system and the impact that this has on our members. However, as a PCS member, you have rights that can help ensure you are treated fairly and which forms part of our campaign to ensure the employer negotiates a fair appraisal system with your union.

We have created a 10-point checklist for every member to follow:

  1. Your line manager must talk to you about your objectives before they are set. You should be asked to agree these and should not feel pressured to agree any objective that you are not happy with.
  2. Ensure that you and your manager agree these are the objectives you will be appraised against once you are happy with your objectives. You should ensure that this agreement is recorded in writing.
  3. Make any equality declarations at this initial meeting and talk through with your line manager what adjustments he/she will be making on that basis. There is an equality checklist available from your local PCS representative.
  4. Refuse to accept objectives around your ‘behaviours’ or other subjective measures unless you are happy with them and understand them – you have the right to be appraised fairly and objectively.
  5. Ask your manager which other members of staff are in your peer group for appraisal. You need to know who you are being assessed ‘against’. If you do not believe that this group is fair you should raise this.
  6. You are entitled to a mid-year review meeting with your line manager. If at your mid-year review point your line manager suggests that you are in danger of being in the bottom category then you should agree, in writing, the steps that you need to take to ensure that this isn't the case with the commitment that if the terms of the 'iimprovement plan' are met that you will not be placed in the bottom category at the year end.
  7. Insist on regular meetings with your line manager to review the progress being made. Submit all evidence regularly and diligently to demonstrate how you are meeting your objectives.
  8. Appeal if you are placed in the bottom category at the end of the year and the process described above has not been strictly followed. The policy on performance management states that nobody should find themselves in the bottom category unless the process described above is followed. It is important you challenge it in writing and/or through a formal appeal/grievance. A model grievance letter is available from your union.
  9. If you are a line manager you should appraise staff strictly in line with the policy. The employer cannot compel you to forcibly distribute markings if it means a breach of the existing policy. Indeed, in some areas to do so will be a potential disciplinary offence.
  10. If you believe that your markings have been wrongly amended by a validation or cluster group you must speak to PCS about this as soon as possible.

Being a member of PCS gives you support and advice on performance management. Contact your local representative for further advice or email

If you are reading this and you are not a union member – join PCS or call our membership department on 0800 317 464.

Updated 7 Feb 2017

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