Performance Review – Breaking News


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.