For the senior civil service (SCS), Departments and agencies are responsible for their own performance management arrangements within a framework set by the Cabinet Office. The 2006-07 guidance for the SCS was based on a relative assessment of how individuals compared to their peers, with between 5 and 10 per cent. of SCS staff being placed into the lowest of three performance groupings.
The performance management arrangements for staff in grades below the SCS have been delegated to individual Departments. DFID has in place a system similar to that of the SCS, whereby staff are classified as falling into one of three performance categories - with the lowest being defined as “those most in need of development”. For staff below the SCS, the distribution of performance markings is not determined by a quota allocation.
Neither system explicitly identifies staff as “unacceptable” performers. Both are based on the principle of bringing about performance improvements through continual dialogue and coaching; and both are designed to identify those in whom DFID should invest more resources in terms of training and personal development.
We do have parallel systems in place to identify “unacceptable” performers whose standard of work falls well below that expected of their grade. In such cases, line managers are charged with setting in place a formal performance improvement plan, to be agreed with the job holder. Failure to meet the required standards within a specified period of time may result in sanctions being applied, including dismissal. Information on the number of staff being monitored in this way is not recorded centrally and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.