Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Performance Development and Appraisal

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy outlines the objectives, responsibilities and process for all eligible employees to participate in annual Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA) discussions. It is a key tool to encourage and acknowledge the productive contributions from each staff member and to assist both staff and the University to achieve excellence. It is one element of a comprehensive performance management framework that also includes induction, probation and academic promotion.

This policy also outlines the Commencing Performance Development Appraisal, which is an important element of induction of staff.

This policy does not apply to casuals.


"CPDA" means Commencing Performance Development Appraisal.

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term appointment under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time): Academic Staff Agreement or Professional and General Staff Agreement).

"Reviewee" means an individual employee undertaking a CPDA or PDA with their supervisor.

"Reviewer" means the individual conducting a PDA with an employee. A delegated or alternate reviewer does not become the official supervisor.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the employee.

The supervisor will remain the official supervisor if a delegated or alternate reviewer conducts the PDA.

"University" means the University of Western Australia.

"Eligible Employee" means employees who are required to participate annually in the Performance Development and Appraisal. Employees not included as eligible are those who are:

Planning to retire or who have resigned and the separation date is within 12 months;

Who are Honorary, Adjunct or Emeritus;

On secondment outside the University; or

Other than commencing staff, in a position where they have not been supervised by the reviewer for three months or more.

Employees in the above categories may request or be requested to undertake a PDA .

Policy statement:

1 Overview

1.1 The Performance Development and Appraisal (PDA) is a key strategy to encourage and acknowledge the productive contributions from each staff member. It is intended to be a positive experience, focussing on the employee's strengths and achievements, and on the University supporting its staff to achieve excellence. It offers the opportunity to discuss achievements, development goals, emerging work role changes or challenges and performance expectations. The PDA is also seen as a key strategy to support the development and retention of world-class employees and to align their endeavours with the goals of the University.

1.2 Newly appointed employees, or employees commencing a new role which represents a significant change, will undertake a Commencing Performance Development Appraisal CPDA within two months of commencing in their new role.

1.3 The PDA is applicable to all eligible employees of the University and available to any employee on request. All employees are required to participate in a PDA on an annual basis, conducted by the supervisor or other reviewer nominated by the supervisor. The PDA due date may be extended by any length of time away from the position including extended periods of leave or secondment.

1.4 The review is to include a face-to-face discussion and feedback on the review outcomes whenever possible.

1.5 The PDA process also supports and informs talent identification and succession planning occurring within Faculties, Offices, Schools and Departments.

1.6 Management of unsatisfactory performance or misconduct are separate and different to the PDA process. Nothing in this policy restricts or prohibits the University from taking action to address performance and/or conduct issues in accordance with the appropriate industrial instruments pertaining to staff of the University.

2 Objectives of the CPDA

The CPDA process is to provide support to newly appointed employees or current employees commencing a new role, and to establish the expectations for the role. It should be undertaken within two months of commencing in the role and, for newly appointed employees, it is a requirement that it is undertaken during the probationary period. Please refer to the UWA Policies on Probation and Confirmation (Academic Staff) and Probation (Professional and General Staff).

Objectives of the CPDA are to:

  • Assist staff in new roles to clarify the requirements of their position, their team and their supervisor;
  • Enable the supervisor to explore cultural and contextual issues with the new employee;
  • Foster staff engagement and commitment;
  • Assist employees to reach their potential;
  • Identify any development or induction support that is required; and
  • Enable ongoing planning to ensure individual goals align with those of the School/Unit and the University.

3 Objectives of the PDA

The PDA process will provide employees and their supervisors an opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of the employee over the previous year and to plan for the next, and to align their endeavours with the goals of the University. Objectives of the PDA are to:

  • Review the past year's goals;
  • Recognise the development of reviewees;
  • Clarify any changes to the reviewee's role;
  • Equip individual employees to meet the immediate and future challenges of their position;
  • Provide staff with transparent and structured feedback on their performance;
  • Assist staff to identify areas of strengths and areas where improvements can be made; and
  • Align the immediate and long-term career goals of the individual, School/Unit and the University;

4 Roles and Responsibilities

4.1 The CPDA and PDA are to be conducted by the employee's supervisor. Where a supervisor has a large number of staff reporting to them, there may be a need to delegate this responsibility. If this is not possible, it may be conducted by the next tier of the reporting line.

4.1.1 Professional and General Staff

Ordinarily the immediate supervisor of the employee will be the reviewer, unless an alternative supervisor is negotiated with the supervisor's supervisor. The alternate reviewer will have the option of declining to review an individual employee. Where an alternate reviewer is negotiated, the immediate supervisor remains the official supervisor.

4.1.2 Academic Staff

The Head of School will remain the official supervisor for academic staff. However, reviewer responsibilities may be delegated to senior academic staff with pairings arranged through negotiation between the reviewee and the Head.

4.2 Where an employee has two appointments, the supervisor with the greater fraction would be responsible for completing the PDA. Where there are two equal appointments (e.g. 0.5 FTE) then the supervisors should agree who will complete the process. It is quite acceptable for both supervisors to undertake a PDA, particularly where the roles are different or in different business units.

4.3 Ordinarily there will be no third party involvement, however, a reviewee may request that a third person be involved in the appraisal process as a support person. The role of a support person is to support and observe, not to act as an advocate for the reviewee.

4.4 It is the role of the reviewer to:

  • Prepare for and conduct the PDA in accordance with the documented procedures;
  • Help the employee to complete a development plan;
  • Together with the employee, complete a report on the outcomes of the review and submit this to the relevant senior manager;
  • Take any follow up action on matters agreed at the meeting including ensuring the arrangement of training and development and the provision of resources. Where the reviewer is not the direct supervisor any training and development proposals and associated resource commitments must be confirmed by the supervisor/Head;
  • Arrive at appraisal outcomes for the employee against each applicable criteria of research, teaching, service, collegiality and leadership (academics) and delivery of job requirements, personal effectiveness, collegiality and leadership (professional and general staff);
  • Determine an overall appraisal outcome for the employee (academic or professional and general staff) that summarises the individual ratings;
  • Apply the principles of Achievement Relative to Opportunity in arriving at performance outcomes;
  • Gain the approval of the Dean or equivalent, in determining an overall assessment of 'outstanding;'
  • Determine the appropriate reward and recognition for the reviewee;
  • Determine follow up action required to address any areas where improvements can be made; and
  • Hold regular informal discussions to offer ongoing support and feedback.

4.5 It is the responsibility of the reviewee to:

  • Prepare for the PDA in accordance with the documented procedures. This includes providing the reviewer with the necessary information through ESS at least seven days prior to the scheduled meeting. In the case of academic employees this may be the Academic Portfolio;
  • Participate positively in the PDA;
  • Work with the reviewer to complete a development plan;
  • Acknowledge the report on the outcomes of the review prior to its submission to the Head of School or equivalent (when they are not the reviewer).In signing the report the reviewee is acknowledging that he/she has read and discussed the comments;
  • Complete follow up actions required to address any areas identified as needing improvement;
  • Regularly review agreed priorities/goals and discuss with the supervisor/reviewer any barriers to meeting these; and
  • Encourage regular feedback from the supervisor.

5 Supervision and Training

5.1 All supervisors and reviewers are expected to participate in appropriate training in the PDA process. The training will incorporate Equity and Diversity policies and the principles of Achievement Relative to Opportunity. Reviewees are encouraged to attend a training programme in order to optimise the value of the process.


Refer to the PDA and CPDA webpage.

The Head of School/supervisor/reviewer will advise the employee concerned that a PDA is to take place, ensuring adequate notice is provided of the meeting date.

The reviewee is to complete Section 1 of the PDA template (ESS-Staff Performance), including relevant supporting documentation and submit at least seven days prior to the meeting with the reviewer.

Within two weeks of the PDA meeting the reviewee is to submit Section 2 to the reviewer (via the PDA template) for confirmation and any additional comments.

The PDA is finalised when the supervisor accepts the goals and objectives as well as the development plan. The reviewee may add a final comment or simply confirm or acknowledge the contents prior to the document being saved in ESS. Section 2 forms the basis of the preparation for the next PDA and will be accessible as an archived document for this purpose.

6 Reward and Recognition

6.1 The appraisal component of the PDA is a summary of the supervisor's assessment of performance outcomes based on all aspects of the individual's performance in the period since the last appraisal. It should be completed by the direct supervisor following careful consideration of all sources of supporting evidence. The PDA should be conducted in a fair, informed and respectful manner, with due consideration of relevant evidence and explicit performance expectations.

6.2 The appraisal provides the opportunity to recognise and reward excellence and effort. This can be done through many informal means, and PDA rating of outstanding performance qualify staff for various Discretionary Allowances or bonuses.

7 Unsatisfactory Performance

7.1 The processes for the management of misconduct and unsatisfactory performance are different and separate from the PDA.

7.2 It is not the intention of the PDA to be used as the primary mechanism to identify or address issues of unsatisfactory performance for disciplinary purposes. Where concerns about performance arise they should be raised as soon as practicable after they are identified, and steps made to address the issues through the principles outlined in the relevant staff agreement and related policy.

7.3 It is expected that where areas in need of improvement are identified in the PDA, they will most likely be limited to performance in relation to only one aspect of the employee's work. In such circumstances the report will include plans to improve performance in that area. If the overall performance of the employee is identified as requiring improvement, it will become necessary to cease the PDA process and commence the unsatisfactory performance process prescribed in the appropriate Academic or Professional and General Staff Agreement, or in the case of probationary Academic employees, the process prescribed in the University Policy on Probation and Confirmation (Academic Employees).

Related forms:

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Senior Policy Officer

Related Policies or legislation:

Discretionary Allowances

Academic Performance Matrix

Probation and Confirmation (Academic Employees)

Achievement Relative to Opportunity

Probation (Professional and General Staff)

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