Performance Review – Further Advice for Members

12 July 2017 

PERFORMANCE REVIEW – DEFER PARTICIPATION UNTIL CONFIDENTIALITY IS RESTORED

On 30 June, York UCU asked all members to defer participating in the annual performance review process until the issue of confidentiality has been resolved.  Aware that some members may already be under pressure on this issue from their Head of Department or line manager, we now offer the following advice:

  1. In response to any initial approach from your appointed reviewer, emphasise that you are not refusing to participate, but deferring participation until an issue of principle has been resolved. This response does not constitute a breach of contract.
  1. Only agree to participate if and when you subsequently receive a formal written instruction from your HoD or your manager. If you receive such an instruction, then you should comply in order to avoid any allegation of breach of contract, but should also declare explicitly on your PR form that you are participating under duress.
  1. If compelled to participate under duress, you should also immediately let York UCU know that this is the case, so that we have an accurate picture of the disposition of our members.

York UCU will continue to demand that university management live up to its repeated assurances of a constructive and confidential PR process.

Performance Review – Breaking News

PERFORMANCE REVIEW: AGAIN

Defer participation until confidentiality is restored

This is an issue of principle

York UCU has long been concerned by the breach of confidentiality entailed in the newly centralised version of Performance Review [PR].  We know, from our two recent online surveys, that many of you share our concern.

Our surveys also show that many colleagues, both UCU members and non-members, see the current form of PR as undermining the very aims which our managers claim they wish to foster, notably the enhancement of staff achievements and the resulting benefits to the core activities of the university.

In a series of meetings with university management, going back to 2014, we have argued on your behalf that confidentiality and control of personal data are essential to any properly constructive and developmental process of Performance Review.

Management’s current approach to PR, however, indicates a refusal to appreciate or value the central role of scholarly and professional autonomy and integrity in achieving such aims. Our discussions with them have reached an impasse over the issue of confidentiality.  Having reneged on assurances given in 2015 that HoDs would respect individual confidentiality when reporting to faculty deans, our managers have refused to consider wording on this matter proposed by the UCU negotiators. HR have now issued the 2017 version of the PR form without the protections of confidentiality proposed by UCU.

In view of university management’s continuing refusal to negotiate constructively in response to the reasonable and legitimate concerns of staff, York UCU is now asking all members of UCU to hold back from participating in any way with the performance review process until the matter is resolved.

This is an issue of principle. We are not service providers, to be disciplined or punished for falling short of ‘expectations’.  Not yet, anyway. The current language of the PR form opens the door to such a scenario. That’s why we need strong collective action on the issue of confidentiality to persuade management to negotiate.

If pressed to participate by your Head of Department or your line manager, you should indicate that you are not refusing to participate in the process. You are deferring participation until outstanding problems with the process have been resolved to the satisfaction of your accredited union representatives.

Should managers/HoDs continue to press you to participate before York UCU is satisfied that management has addressed these concerns, then you should approach the branch executive for support and advice.

ACT NOW AND TAKE BACK CONTROL

DEFER ALL PARTICIPATION IN PERFORMANCE REVIEW

New Website Under Construction

The branch are currently updating the local website and hope to have the new version up and running by the end of September 2017.  The new site will include local and national news from UCU, communications from the Executive Committee and a place for members to put their comments, studies and ideas on to the site.