Aligning appraisal processes with self assessment at South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.


20 / 07 / 2012

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust used the revised Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) Appraisal and Personal Development Reviews to build on high levels of compliance, a commitment to personal development and an established values-base. 

The organisation

The trust provides mental health, learning disability and specialist children’s services across South Staffordshire. It also provides mental health and learning disability services in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Powys as well as some services on a wider regional or national basis.

What we did and why

The trust extended the simplified approach across all KSF dimensions to retain a plural appraisal process and support role specific development planning. In their view, the meaningfulness of appraisal is key to patient safety, the maintenance of high rates of compliance and staff satisfaction.

How we did it

The debate regarding adoption of the simplified approach centred around whether removing a focus on clinical or other work-related dimensions was in keeping with trust values of keeping service-users at the centre of all we do.We agreed to realise benefits for staff and service-users by:

  • reviewing trust policy, guidance, documentation and processes
    adopting the simplified KSF core dimensions
  • employing the new leadership and management dimension
  • simplifying the presentation of all other dimensions to ensure a coherent approach
  • modifying and reducing the trust’s appraisal documentation
  • aligning appraisal more effectively with other key elements of development and performance, including:
    - the core values and behaviours of the organisation
    - 360 feedback
    - team based working principles such as vision and objectives
    - managerial supervision.

Results and next steps

The simplified documentation and guidance offers the following improvements:

  • an accessible 41 page guidance document with the details of all levels for each dimension included on a single page (replaces KSF handbook of 267 pages).
  • appraisal documentation has reduced from 13 to 8 pages in total
  • there is increased clarity on positive behaviour indicators and warning signs benefitting staff and managers through increased validity of approach
  • increased emphasis on personal objectives supporting trust / directorate / service strategy and objectives
  • a structured discussion based on self assessment against trust values & behaviours is incorporated
  • there are specific references to 360 feedback
  • links made with ongoing managerial supervision.

The new policy, guidance document and reduced/refocused paperwork have received positive feedback and appear to be warmly welcomed by managers throughout the trust. The trust is monitoring appraisal compliance rates and staff satisfaction with the quality of reviews undertaken.

Tips for other trusts

The trust viewed balancing simplification, ease of employment and the plurality of our appraisal processes as key to continuing to achieve high levels of assurance, satisfaction and compliance.
Choosing what a trust measures is more important than how frequently it is measured.

Contact details:

Please email Chris Malvern, Workforce Redesign Project Manager.

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