Performance Review? Comply Under Duress

Invited to do your next Performance Review?

Defer until explicitly instructed

Then comply, but do it ‘under duress’

Stage One

In the event of an HoD/line manager or departmental administrator issuing a general instruction, to reviewers or to reviewees, to undertake the annual PR process, we advise any member to whom such an instruction is issued to respond as follows:

I shall engage with performance review, according to my individual contractual obligations, only when I receive a direct individual WRITTEN instruction from my manager. Until thus instructed, I am deferring my compliance in the process.  Please note that I do this in protest at the erosion of confidentiality entailed in the new version of performance review that has recently been imposed upon us all.

(We note that contracts are individual, not collective.)

Stage Two

When a direct individual WRITTEN instruction is received from the appropriate source, the reviewee is advised to respond with the following:

I wish to make clear that since I have received a direct instruction to complete my PR as a contractual obligation, with the implied threat of sanctions if I do not comply, this in spite of the fact that I have NOT refused to undertake PR, I am now following your instruction, but I am doing so under duress.

Stage Three

When completing the PR form, reviewees are advised to insert the phrase ‘solely with my explicit written consent’ at the appropriate point in the final paragraph of the PR form, the paragraph entitled Oversight.

York UCU has consistently argued that this Oversight, apparently benign and reassuring, actually means potential breach of confidentiality.  This erosion of confidentiality violates the spirit of a performance review process which is supposedly developmental, reflective and motivating.

UCU members who are reviewers are urged to inform their reviewees of the option to add ‘solely with my explicit written consent’ to the final paragraph of the PR form.  The UCU view is that amending the PR form is not a breach of contract, since by completing the form you are doing all that is contractually required of you.

Stage Four

We urge UCU members who are reviewers to draw attention on the PR form to the fact that a reviewee has stated that they are complying with the contractual requirement under duress.

The reviewer’s form of words might look like this:

I note with grave concern that as a result of a direct instruction, with its implied threat of sanctions for non-compliance, my colleague X has completed the PR process under duress.  I note with regret that this seriously compromises a process which is allegedly supportive and developmental.

27 July 2017
For and on behalf of York UCU Exec.

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