Following three years of campaigning against the performance related pay (PRP) and appraisal scheme, we are extremely pleased that Camden has agreed to drop the scheme. Camden UNISON had demonstrated that the scheme penalised workers earning under £40k, black and minority ethnic staff, part-time workers, workers aged over 40 and disabled workers, and our survey also showed it was deeply unpopular and demotivating for most members.
We put in a freedom of information act request for the 2014 figures, which management refused then refused our appeal. We then complained to the Information Commissioner, who has the power to force Camden to disclose the information. However in discussions with HR we agreed to drop our complaint in return for Camden dropping the scheme.
Camden has now launched a new appraisal scheme called ‘My Performance’. While we remain opposed to PRP on principle, we believe this is a significant improvement on the previous scheme. However, we do still have some areas of concern which we have raised with management.
Key features of the scheme are that it:
• abolishes the 1-5 ratings
• abolishes annual appraisals in favour of ongoing supervision and support
• expressly maintains a link to the NJC national pay award for all staff
• means bigger pay rises for the vast majority of staff (2% plus NJC award for those not at the top of their grade)
• reduces differences in treatment with the lower paid, abolishing ‘performance zones’ for staff in the SP grades (old scale 6 and below), which made it nearly impossible to progress beyond the midpoint of the scale, and allowing bonuses like those which can be earned by the higher paid
• gives underperforming staff the ability to get the pay increase once their performance becomes satisfactory.
Key concerns that we have are:
• that staff on the old contracts are going to be denied increments for not performing well. This is something which is in the green book of national NJC terms and conditions, however historically management have not previously enforced it (although now nearly all staff on the old contracts will be at the top of their grades in any case)
• that there is no right of appeal for underperformance. This should be a right at least for staff on old contracts in the green book (including union representation), so we believe it should be for staff on the new contracts as well
• sickness: for staff on the old contracts sickness cannot be taken into account in terms of awarding increments. Therefore we believe it shouldn’t for staff on the new contracts either.
• we would want to ensure that performance ratings and recognition payments are awarded fairly, as we are concerned that bonuses may still be awarded disproportionately to high earners and those in more project and office based roles, and also those who are disproportionately white, full-time and nondisabled. So we have requested a regular full breakdown of payments made, broken down by amount, pay level (0-£20k, £20-30k, £30-40k etc), part-time/full-time status and equality characteristic. This has been agreed by management, who also expressed their intention to work with us in monitoring this.
We would encourage members to feedback their views and any queries or concerns for us to take back to senior management. Please contact John Shepherd to discuss (John.Shepherd@Camden.gov.uk).