Civil service PMDS changes agreed

New guidelines aim to ensure that all staff are reviewed under the system, with sanctions for managers who fail to fully conduct PMDS for all staff.

Further changes, under discussion with a view to implementation in 2013, will address fairness and consistency in the PMDS system. This will focus on the competency framework, ratings, the role of the reviewer and the introduction of independent reviews.

IMPACT welcomed the changes. The union has long argued that PMDS was not being implemented properly or comprehensively. In particular, the union highlighted the problem of managers who failed to apply performance management to staff at the top of their scales.

Except in the most exceptional circumstances, these changes introduce a maximum ‘two’ PMDS rating for managers who fail to complete PMDS for all their staff. A ‘two’ rating in the five-point PMDS system indicates that performance needs improvement, and staff who receive it are not eligible to apply for promotion.

The new approach acknowledges that the problem is in the application of PMDS, rather than the system itself.

The changes agreed this week will:

  • Simplify PMDS forms and move to an electronic system
  • Hold management accountable for PMDS
  • Ensure that business and individual goals are clear and aligned
  • Improve training and support for managers.