Abstracts: July 26th, 2001

This report examines staff perceptions of working in the Civil Service and views on the equality of performance appraisals. It was commissioned by the Civil Service working closely with the Council of Civil Service Unions. The research looks at factors affecting performance marks across the service and was carried out by Capita and the Institute of Employment Studies. Some 180,000 personal records were analysed and 500 people interviewed. It is being used to assess progress and identify where further action is needed.It shows that the Civil Service scores above average on questions about fairness and equality when compared with other public, private and voluntary sector employers.There were small but statistically significant differences between performance marks in relation to gender, ethnicity and disability, although women do better than men. The performance review systems are not the underlying cause of the differences in performance marks. The main issues were how people were managed, valued and developed. In some cases, negative attitudes and beliefs might have influenced both actual performance and marks.

Six government departments participated: the Cabinet Office; Department of Health; Inland Revenue; and the former Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions; Department of Social Security and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The findings of the research are available at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/civilservice/what_works