Code of principles


This Code informs the operation of the University’s personal development review scheme and reflects the University’s wider policies for personal and professional development and its Human Resources Strategy.


The primary aims of the scheme are to secure effective personal development and performance; to enable the review of past performance to inform the planning of future personal development; and to set clear and well-structured work objectives for the year ahead. It also aims to:

  • Provide a framework for effective long-term personal development
  • Support employees in developing their careers
  • Improve communications and understanding of the University’s strategic priorities and objectives
  • Improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the University’s operations
  • Provide a system for the constructive review, discussion and agreement of work objectives and performance
  • Promote equality of opportunity through personal development


The values which inform the scheme are that:

  • the personal development needs of staff should be considered within the framework set by the University’s mission and strategic plan
  • personal development should be informed by the review of each individual’s performance at work so that the reflection on past performance provides the basis for effective future development
  • personal reviews should provide an opportunity for reflection, and for a genuine dialogue between the reviewer and the member of staff concerned, with equal commitment from both parties


  • The review meeting only involves the reviewer and the member of staff concerned unless they agree that a wider group should be involved. In cases where there are dual reporting lines or where a post has split responsibilities and roles, two reviewers may be agreed.
  • Review meetings will be held annually, and shorter intermediate review meetings are recommended.
  • Initial review meetings following a career break should take place two weeks after the reviewee’s return, with the next or interim review linking into the annual review cycle.
  • Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the form should be completed by the individual member of staff concerned in advance of the review meeting, with sections 5 and 6 being completed in draft if the reviewee feels this is appropriate. Where a written self-assessment is agreed to be inappropriate, arrangements will be made for it to be carried out orally.
  • The review meeting will cover:
    • discussion of the self-assessment sections of the form
    • the work of the member of staff over the past year
    • a review of the personal development plans from the last meeting
    • the work objectives for the next period
    • the associated development and support measures needed to achieve these objectives.
  • The agreed plans will be recorded in section 5 and 6, and initialled by both parties.
  • If there is a difference of view that cannot be reconciled at the review meeting, the relevant Dean or Director will hold an informal meeting with the parties involved to seek to reach a mutually acceptable outcome. Either party may be accompanied by a fellow employee or trade union representative. Details of the meeting will be confidential to those involved and an agreed outcome will be recorded. If the Dean or Director is the reviewer, the Vice Chancellor shall nominate a senior colleague to lead the informal meeting. If no agreement is reached in the initial informal meeting, future meetings may be held by mutual agreement. The issues involved may also be referred for mediation to the Director of Human Resources.
  • Reviewers will be selected by Deans or Directors. For academic staff, they will normally be at the Principal Lecturer grade or above. The reviewer for other staff will normally be the line manager or an appropriate colleague at the next higher level. Deans and Directors will ensure that reviewers have received the appropriate training from the Directorate of Human Resources before undertaking a review. Members of staff may make representations to the Dean or Director concerning the identity of their reviewer, and may also have recourse to the grievance procedure.
  • Training will be offered to staff being reviewed for the first time.
  • The review documents are confidential to the parties immediately involved, the Academic Head of Department and the Dean or Director. Additionally, a random sample of completed documentation from each faculty and directorate will be reviewed each year by the Directorate of Human Resources for audit and monitoring purposes. Access to the personal development sections will input into the faculty/directorate Learning and Development Plan. 

Development and review forms and any associated records will not be used in a disciplinary process.


updated June 2015