The Performance and Development System (PDS) appraisal policy, introduced for the 2003-04 financial year, allows the allocation of a Lower (U) box mark to denote unsatisfactory performance:
In 2004-05, 35 people were awarded a Lower (U) box mark. This represented 0.03 per cent. of the total number of employees (127,828) allocated a box mark in this period.
In 2003-04, 60 people were awarded a Lower (U) box mark. This represented 0.05 per cent. of the total number of employees (131,312) allocated a box mark in this period.
It should be noted that a new DWP disciplinary policy was introduced in October 2004 incorporating amendments to the Employment Act 2002. Previous to this, each of the businesses had their own guidance on disciplinary procedures. It is possible that this change in process may account for some of the change in the numbers allocated Lower (U) between 2003-04 and 2004-05.
Previous to the introduction of PDS, there were several box marking systems in concurrent use in different parts of the DWP. There was not a universally applicable equivalent of the PDS Lower (U) category and, hence, it is not possible to provide comparable statistics for 2002-03.