Civil service performance management system is discriminatory, says Prospect union

Civil service performance management system is discriminatory, says Prospect union

The civil service performance management system demonstrates patterns of institutional discrimination, according to new information obtained and analysed by Prospect, which represents 34,000 professionals and specialists across government.

Data supplied by civil service departments in response to Parliamentary questions show that disabled and minority ethnic civil servants and those over 50 are valued less than the colleagues they work with. For example:

  • BME civil servants account for 27% of the lowest performance category, but make up around 10% of the workforce
  • 30% of disabled staff in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills received the lowest performance rating compared to 17% of non-disabled staff and those who did not declare their status
  • 12% of staff aged over 50 in the Department for Communities and Local Government received the lowest performance rating compared to just 7% of their younger colleagues.

Prospect’s detailed analysis features in Profile, Prospect’s members’ magazine:

Prospect deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh said:

“Either our BME and disabled colleagues or those over 50, tend to be low performers, or the system is working against them. We’re clear that the system is at fault.

“Prospect repeatedly warned that this was the likely outcome of a system based on forced distribution. Such systems create the space for discrimination to rear its ugly head.

“Too many performance markings are driven by the need to match pre-determined quotas rather than being a genuine reflection of performance. Prospect has sympathy with line managers who are under pressure to these deliver quotas – particularly when it’s on the basis of a nod and a wink from above.

“The civil service must ditch forced rankings and build in checks and safeguards to ensure that staff with protected characteristics are treated equally. Departments must also equality proof the performance management process, including providing training for line managers.”