Here are the results of an extensive survey carried out by Camden UNISON last year on the introduction of performance related pay (PRP) in the council. Importantly, it shows that PRP is deeply unpopular, demotivating, and appears to substantially discriminate against those over 40, part-time workers, those earning under £40,000 per year, and could also discriminate against women, black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled workers.
375 staff members, mostly UNISON members, completed the survey. To get a full view of how PRP is being applied we need to see the complete information from management. However despite having requested this information for months it has still not yet been provided.
Our key findings so far are that:
- Part-time workers appear to be detrimentally affected: part-time workers were 30% less likely to receive a 4 or 5 rating than full-time colleagues, and were more than 50% more likely to receive a rating of 1 or 2. This is particularly concerning given that part-time workers are disproportionately female.
- It appears that lower paid workers are rated more harshly than the better paid. Ratings for workers earning up to £40,000 per year are relatively consistent, but respondents earning over £40,000 per year seem to be rated more highly. Workers earning £40,000 or under are 57% more likely to be rated 1 or 2 than those earning over 40k. There are also 28% less likely to be rated 4 or 5 than the more highly paid.
- Workers over 40 appear to be significantly detrimentally affected. Overall, respondents under 40 received ratings nearly 10% higher than those over 40. But more shockingly, respondents over 40 were more than twice as likely than younger workers to be scored 1 or 2 (16% as opposed to 7%) and less than half as likely to be rated 4 or 5 (17% as opposed to 38%).
- It is deeply unpopular, with over 81% of staff supporting its abolition, and instead reverting back to incremental progression. Only 8% would oppose its abolition.
- It is making staff want to leave: 54% of workers are more likely to want to leave Camden (22% much more likely). Fewer than 5% of workers are less likely to leave now there is PRP.
- It is demotivating: 87% of workers do not feel motivated by PRP, with 57% actually being demotivated and the majority of these feeling strongly demotivated by it. Only 3% of respondents felt strongly motivated by it.
- There seems to have been a dip in performance ratings which would attract a bigger pay rise with the introduction of PRP. In 2013, compared to the previous year there was a 60% reduction in the number of respondents scoring 5 and a 20% reduction in the number of respondents scoring a 4. There was also a 40% increase in the number of respondents scoring a 1. However, due to the limited nature of this survey we would need in to view the full management information in order to assess if this is the general pattern.
- There appear to be inconsistencies in how low appraisal ratings are given in different directorates. For example in housing and adult social care, 19% of respondents were rated 1 or 2, compared to only 6% in children, schools and families, with 13% in culture and environment and central services.
- The appraisal process may be discriminatory in other ways, as women, black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled respondents were both graded lower overall than male, white and non-disabled respondents respectively. The only respondents reported receiving a rating of 5 were non-disabled white males. We include more information on equalities, below. However for a full assessment we need to be able to see the council’s data across the board.
On equality issues, we also found the following results:
- On gender, while average scores of men and women were very similar (women’s were 0.6% lower), fewer women were awarded high ratings. In fact no female respondents at all received a rating of 5, compared to 3 men.
- Overall scores for white workers were 2.3% higher than black and minority ethnic (BME) workers, and nearly 4% higher than black workers. As with gender, while overall scores were not hugely different, fewer high ratings were awarded to BME respondents, and no BME respondents reported a rating of 5, compared with three white workers.
- Overall scores for disabled workers were just under 2% lower than non-disabled workers. No disabled workers were awarded a rating of 5.
- Our survey revealed no other potential areas of discrimination. Workers with caring responsibilities at home did not appear to be detrimentally affected, nor did union representatives, who on average actually scored slightly higher than non-reps.