PCS Voice – 19th August – Perfomance Management Special

Keele University Civil Service PMR research

We attach an extremely important piece of  research into inequalities into the variants of the civil service PMR system by the academic Steve French of Keele University.

However it is worth noting that as bad as the inequalities are across the civil service, DCLG does not emerge from this study with credit, especially taking into account the fact that the department was repeatedly warned by PCS before the launch of the current system that the subjectivity and opaqueness of the system would increase the risk of unfairness, conscious and unconscious bias, and discrimination but also make actual instances incredibly difficult to identify because of its opaqueness.

It is important to understand two differences between the Keele report and the DCLG type of equality analysis:

  • In the case of gender, ethnicity, disability and working pattern – the two sub-groups are compared against each other rather than against the overall average.
  • The test of statistical significance used is 99% rather than 95%.

We will not comment in any detail on the report – not in this Voice at least – as the research is long enough.

However, noting how overworked members are in Annex A (included in PM special PCS voice ) we have set out some passages from the report which we believe are especially important in a Department whose senior management claims that the current system is not broken and that the box mark outcomes, despite the gross year on year inequalities, are right with the possible exception of individual cases.

It is on the basis of this view that management has decided to reintroduce box mark related performance pay despite knowing that on the evidence of 2015-16 and all previous years of this system ethnic minority and other protected categories of staff and more junior grade staff are less likely to receive the pay bonus. PCS of course does not accept that the yearly Mid-Year and End-Year gross inequalities in the distribution of box marks is a fair reflection of performance for ethnic minority and other protected categories of staff.