Performance Review 2017 – York UCU Update
11 August 2017
Colleagues should now be aware that York UCU has not approved the current version of Performance Review. We have long been concerned by the breach of confidentiality entailed in the 2017 version of Performance Review. In a series of meetings with university management, going back to 2014, we have argued on your behalf that confidentiality is essential to any properly constructive process of Performance Review. In June 2017 our discussions with university management reached an impasse over this issue of confidentiality.
Performance Review used to be developmental and contained within departments, in accord with custom and practice. The 2017 version is top-down, disciplinary, centralised and no longer confidential. Many of you have indicated to us that you find it intimidating and contrary to the proper purposes of the exercise.
Having taken legal advice, we now advise colleagues to engage in Performance Review 2017 when requested, but to make it clear that we do so ‘under protest’. A brief statement to this effect could be included in the body of your PR form. Please note that this advice supersedes the UCU advice circulated to members on 28 July.
In conclusion, we note that university management is currently constructing what they describe as a ‘holistic performance management system’. The aim is to integrate the data that comes from diverse forms of appraisal: from student questionnaires, from performance review, and from the REF. Assembling such information will then make it possible to rewrite individual colleague’s contracts in accord with the market priorities decided by the University Executive Board.
Eroding the confidentiality of Performance Review is the essential first step in this larger process. This is why we regard confidentiality as an issue of principle.
On behalf of the York UCU Executive