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Council to spend £2.5m to find out whether staff are doing their job

Council to spend £2.5m to find out whether staff are doing their job

🕔14.May 2015

Birmingham city council is planning to spend £2.5 million on a new appraisal scheme to decide whether staff are performing well and deserve a pay rise, reports Paul Dale.

The replacement for the largely disliked Performance Development Review (PDR) process will be used to work out whether Council House employees are meeting targets.

Unlike PDR, the new ‘My Appraisal’ system will involve regular conversations between managers and staff, not just a one-off annual assessment.

A cabinet report by chief executive Mark Rogers makes it clear that anyone deemed to be “underperforming” will not receive a pay rise until they do better. They will be offered help to improve.

He added that “talented staff” will “receive access to additional development pathways” and qualify for annual pay increments.

The new system arises out of Mr Rogers’ ‘Big Conversation’ with staff last year. The PDR process has always been a bone of contention and until recently some departments rarely bothered to follow the process.

Mr Rogers said it was felt the old appraisal process did not manage and develop employees to get the best performance possible from them.

The new system will focus on employees’ behaviour – “not just what you do, but how you do it”.

There will be a clearer offer to employees about what they can do to develop their skills and knowledge, and how they can be supported to improve, the chief executive said.

Mr Rogers added:

We expect our employees to be doing their best and achieving for our citizens – more employees will earn increments where performance against task and behaviour meets a measured standard.

If performance fails to meet a measured standard, employees will not be eligible for a pay increment. Underperforming staff will receive more development, but not financial reward. Talented staff will receive access to additional development pathways.

The My Appraisal process involves a shift from a bureaucratic tick box approach to one focused around on going quality conversations, personal development, values and behaviours facilitated through honest feedback. This will maximise individual performance.

Time served increments, a system of annual pay rises regardless of performance, will be removed, with all employees required to meet a minimum standard to achieve a pay increase.

Mr Rogers added that 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.

He said the council has sought to learn from the good practice of other local authorities and employers in developing the new framework.

The cost of introducing My Appraisal is estimated at £2.5 million a year. Directorates, already under pressure to find more than £100 million of savings this year, will be required to fund incremental progression within approved budgets.

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