Personal Development and Review Scheme

All professional and support staff in the University are normally expected to participate in their department’s Personal Development and Review Scheme (once they have completed their probationary period). (See http://www.learning.ox.ac.uk/cdr/pdr/principles/ .)

The Mathematical Institute Scheme has been revised following feedback from staff in focus groups in 2016. The following Scheme will operate in 2017. We will then seek further feedback on this revised scheme.

Brief description of the Scheme

The aim is to integrate support for individuals with the achievement of objectives of the Department.

The University’s expectation is that this annual review is part of an ongoing dialogue between individuals and their line managers. It is the one regular formal process of its kind, but should be seen very much as part of an ongoing conversation: there should be no surprises. It is likely to be a chance to set aside time to focus in more depth and/or to take a longer-term perspective.

The review is based on an initial self-assessment by the individual in advance of the discussion: reviewees are invited to reflect on their own performance over the previous year and to propose appropriate work objectives for the coming year and areas for future development.

There is no direct link between the scheme and salary, promotion, or discipline, for which there are separate University procedures. If, however, an annual review indicates that performance has been exceptional, or that the job has grown significantly in terms of the level of responsibility, information from the discussion may be used, with the consent of the individual, to inform the separate ‘Awards for Excellence’ or re-grading procedures.

The review discussion should include:

  • a review of the individual’s performance over the past year;
  • agreement on appropriate objectives/tasks for the forthcoming year;
  • discussion of any support needed to achieve those objectives (including training and development).

If the reviewee wishes it, future career plans may also be discussed.

The process, apart from passing on information about training needs and other points requiring action by the Department, will be confidential between the reviewer and reviewee.

The process in outline

  1. The PDR Scheme is launched by email, with reference to this guidance being sent to all professional and support staff.
  2. Line Managers should contact each member of their staff to arrange a meeting, which should be no sooner than 2-3 weeks away. Line Managers should send each member of staff the most up-to-date copy of their job description, as this is likely to provide a useful background to the discussions.
  3. Line Managers may wish to seek feedback from other supervisors/operational managers of the member of staff, to further inform the discussions (e.g. academic staff who the reviewee works for).
  4. Reviewees should reflect on the following questions in advance of the meeting.
    1. How has the year gone? What have been your achievements, including the extent to which you have met any objectives set in the previous year?
    2. Did your duties, activities and achievements reflect what was anticipated at the start of the period, or have there been any major changes?
    3. Did you encounter any difficulties/obstacles? Do you have any suggestions for improvements/changes in the way you work or your job is organised which you think would help you? (Include suggestions about your wider team and/or the Department if helpful.)
    4. What ideas do you have about objectives for the coming year?
    5. Is there any support you need to help you achieve your future aims/objectives, including any training/development needs? (Include reflection on longer-term/future career plans if you wish.)
    The reviewee may find it helpful to make a note of their thoughts in relation to these questions, and to send it to their reviewer in advance of the meeting. Alternatively, the reviewee may prefer simply to discuss their thoughts at the meeting.
  5. By the end of the meeting there should have been discussion of the following:
    1. a review of the individual’s performance over the past year;
    2. agreement on appropriate objectives/tasks for the forthcoming year;
    3. discussion of any support needed to achieve those objectives (including training and development);
    4. if the reviewee wishes it, future career plans may also be discussed.
  6. The Line Manager should draft a note of the meeting to record conclusions under 5. a-d above. This should be agreed with the Reviewee, dated, and filed confidentially by the Line Manager.
  7. The Line Manager should make a separate record of any training or development requirements that have been identified, and any further action that is required by the Department. This should be agreed with the Reviewee, and then passed to the Department’s Personnel Team.
  8. The Line Manager then emails the Department’s Personnel Team by the end of July to confirm that the Review has taken place (whether or not there is any action required arising under 7. above).