Summary: For many years PCS has been campaigning for a significant change in the way our reporting system is operated. As a result of our campaigning that change is on its way.


Members will have been aware that for many years, PCS have been campaigning for a significant change to the PDR system operated in Home Office. In the first instance, we sought to remove the system of forced distribution, moderation and box marking quotas. This change came about in 2017, but, despite the change, PCS did not feel that this went far enough and sought to remove the system of year-end and mid-year box marking.


PCS felt that the star rating system was one that created an adversarial environment, hindering honest conversations, where managers felt obliged to fill quotas.  Likewise, we felt that the half year and end of year report process was a significant drain on resources and was essentially an arbitrary construct.  Ultimately, assigning a nominal star rating in October and March did nothing to aid continual development of our members throughout the year and their careers.


More worrying though was the persistent statistical evidence that the year-end marking and bonus system produced consistently poor Diversity and Inclusion outcomes.  This created an imbalance not only in the areas of protected characteristics such as race disability and age, but also between grades. It remains our contention that the performance system as it currently stands produces outcomes that point to it indirectly discriminating against members.


For all these reasons our campaigning continued, and on 11 June we wrote to the department setting out our demands;


  • An end to annual appraisals, replaced with continual performance management.
  • Removal of the rating system from the appraisal system.
  • Discontinuation of appraisal-related end of year bonuses,


PCS also raised this issue with the Permanent Secretary in a meeting on 23 July.


Members will now have seen the announcement from Matthew Rycroft, Home Office Permanent Secretary, that the Executive people board have signed off on a fundamental review of the appraisal system. This has come about as a direct result of our continued campaign.  PCS are delighted to see that the replacement system will be based on our alternative proposals and will bring about the removal of year-end marking and replace it with a programme of ongoing development.


PCS hope this will allow members to feel confident in asking for help and receiving developmental opportunities to assist them to do their best and develop their career without the fear of a detrimental box marking for doing so. It is also hoped that we can rebalance any bonus payments to ensure that they are fairly distributed across all members.


The development of the replacement appraisal system is at an early stage, but we will continue to contribute to the development discussions, to make the outcome the best system for members. PCS will update members as progress is made. PCS would like to thank the members who have contributed to bringing about this change over the years and would remind members that this demonstrates the importance of PCS membership in bringing about change for members and improving fairness in the workplace.



Pete Wright                                                             

Group Vice President                              

HR Lead