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March 4th, 2019:

Online PDRs + REF performance management + Staff Survey

New online PDRs 

It seems the University is moving to an online PDR process that UCU has not been consulted about. Emails being sent to staff say this new process uses the “standard” PDR form. If this is correct, and the online form is essentially the same as the paper version we agreed three years ago, we do not at present see any reason for a fuss. However, it will be a different matter if management are trying to introduce some other type of PREP or “research expectations” process that we have not agreed to.

Therefore, if you are asked to complete an online form, please first compare it with the paper form we have negotiated, which is available at http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/DocuInfo.aspx?DocID=42  Then, if they are different, let us know before continuing. We have no objection in principle to an online process, but the specifics of the form must be appropriate for academics and be agreed with UMUCU.

 

Please also remember that the PDR process is meant to be supportive and helpful and that, while management must offer all staff PDRs, participation is NOT compulsory. Therefore, if you are made to feel under any pressure to participate against your wishes, please contact the UMUCU office.

More performance management

We are again receiving reports of staff being summoned to meetings with their line manager to account for their performance. For example, colleagues who have several publications have been told none of them are good enough and that they will be “performance managed” if they do not get a REF 3* publication by April. Apparently, the line managers concerned are claiming that these meetings are part of the normal PDR process, but they are not; such aggressive performance management is inconsistent with the letter and the spirit of the agreed PDR process. Therefore, if this happens to you, please alert UMUCU so we can bring the matter up in our next Joint Negotiation Committee meeting with the Senior Leadership Team, and do not feel obliged to attend any further meetings before seeking union advice and representation.

 

Staff Survey – Let’s tell management what we think

The biennial university Staff Survey goes live today. You may remember that the infamous M2020 mass redundancy programme was announced just one week after the end of the last Staff Survey in 2017 – a rather suspicious timing the Senior Leadership Team repeatedly assured us was completely unplanned. Despite the fact that this bad news for hundreds of staff was not yet known, the proportion of staff who  answered positively to the question, “To what extent do you agree the President’s Senior Leadership Team listen to and respond to the views of staff” was only 47%, down from 51% in 2015 and the lowest satisfaction score recorded in the Survey. We will look forward to seeing the response to this question in this year’s Survey.