Break the link: guidance for performance management negotiations

PCS has published a guide for reps dealing with negotiations on performance management.

With current systems now under review in the VOA, MoD, Home Office and DWP, thanks to PCS campaigning, the union’s major priority is breaking the link between performance and pay.

A five-point negotiating guide to support reps in all bargaining areas in the civil service, NDPBs and public bodies – lists the key principles that need to be incorporated into all performance management systems by employers.

Our ‘Break the link’ campaign aims to ensure that the current discredited, discriminatory and divisive system is systematically dismantled with box marking, moderation, inequality and all linkages to pay stripped out of the system.
New systems must be equality proofed, developmental and focused on staff development.

Download the PCS performance management negotiating guide

Reps will also be able to make use of two PCS/Keele University reports to support their negotiations.

Outturn data analysis 2015-16 presents a detailed analysis of box marking across the civil service, based on the employer’s own data, and provides clear evidence of discrimination.

Report on Re-Negotiating performance management system should be used in conjunction with the PCS negotiating guide. This report provides a detailed analysis of the Cabinet Office framework principles and sets out five key demands, that:

  1. All new systems must be subject to negotiation with, and agreement by, PCS
  2. There should be no links to pay in new systems
  3. All new systems must be fully equality-proofed
  4. New systems should not use box marking, validation/moderation or forced or guided distribution targets
  5. New systems must focus on staff development, coaching and support.

Download the PCS/Keele University reports

Delegates passed a motion at PCS conference in May, instructing the NEC to maintain the pressure on employers and ensure the new systems being introduced in 2018/19 are fair, equal, and credible to members.

Transitional arrangements are already in place for this year at DWP, HMRC, MoD and the Home Office. Numerous trials have begun in the civil services as departments under pressure from PCS begin to dismantle the current system.

Need more help?
Negotiators can access further support and guidance throughout their negotiations, by emailing

Get involved
Campaign materials and activity for members to get involved in the performance management ‘Break the Link’ campaign will be available on the PCS website, including lobbying the Cabinet Office and MPs after the General Election. Check for details and updates.

Updated 11 April 2018

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