Information for reviewers

It is the joint responsibility of the reviewee and their reviewer to ensure that the meeting takes place in a timely, meaningful and constructive way. A review meeting should be expected to take about 90 minutes.

It is the responsibility of the reviewer to set a date for the review meeting with the reviewee, and to arrange an appropriate location for it to take place. A review meeting can be held online, or, if on campus, take place in a meeting room, office, or other private space where it can be assured there will be no interruptions. Please follow COVID regulations.

It is the joint responsibility of the reviewee and their reviewer to ensure that the meeting takes place in a timely, meaningful and constructive way. A review meeting should be expected to take about 90 minutes.

The frequency with which reviews are held is agreed between the reviewer and the reviewee but there is a minimum requirement of one meeting a year.

Preparing for the review period:

1. Attend any briefing given by your senior manager to hear about strategic or departmental objectives that should be cascaded, or any other updates relevant to the Development Review process. Alternatively ask directly about this. 

2. Schedule review meetings with your reviewee/s, preferably after you have had yours unless your departmental Head has proposed an alternative approach. You should ideally be conducting no more than 8 reviews. 

Before the meeting:

Read your reviewee's draft form they have shared with you and prepare your thoughts on their reflections and objectives. This will help you form an agenda for discussion at the meeting. 

Make a note of any other specific points you wish to discuss with the reviewee, including any cascaded departmental objectives or updates. Please also refer to the section below - DR and its role in relation to Performance Management, and New starters. 

When discussing career aspirations and development, try conducting the conversation in a coaching style. Coaching involves asking prompting questions rather than offering your advice, therefore helping people become more self-aware and come up with their own answers. Through coaching, you help people take responsibility for their actions and their development. Coaching isn’t just for specialised professionals. In fact, nearly anyone can conduct a coaching conversation.You may find these LinkedIn and KnowHow resources on how to have a coaching conversation with your employee helpful. 

As well as discussing their work and career aspirations you should also use the opportunity to have a conversation about your employee's health and wellbeing and encourage them to open up about any related issues they may be facing.  

At the review meeting:


  • Make sure the conversation is led by the reviewee; this is their chance to reflect upon and discuss their development with you and how they may contribute to departmental or strategic objectives
  • Be open and constructive in your conversation
  • Celebrate successes and achievements when reflecting on the reviewee's previous year's objectives
  • Consider any objectives that haven't been achieved and discuss the potential barriers or reasons for this
  • Prompt your reviewee to talk abouttheir future careeraspirations and lead a coaching-style discussion on how they might move towards their goals 
  • Encourage the reviewee to talk about their health and wellbeing and any related issues that may be affecting their work or enjoyment of work, using open and supportive questions
  • When setting future objectives with the reviewee, make sure they are SMART, contain a degree of 'stretch' for that individual and are related to strategic or departmental goals


  • Have conversations directly related to pay - instead, take the opportunity to discuss future career aspirations with your staff member
  • Bring up performance issues that haven't previously been raised over the course of the year (see below*)

*DR and its role in relation to Performance Management

Performance management is a holistic, on-going process bringing together many of the elements that make up the practices of effective people management, e.g. work allocation, regular 1 to 1 meetings, wellbeing, development conversations (including career), capability etc. It is not solely about dealing with under-performance issues and includes all aspects of an individual’s contribution.

Whilst the Development Review meeting does provide a valuable opportunity to take stock of someone’s performance across a whole year it is not the place for the reviewer to introduce new issues. There should be no unexpected surprises for the reviewee related to their performance. Any under-performance issues must be raised with them first outside of this meeting and at the earliest opportunity with the aim of finding ways to resolve them. They should not be ‘saved’ to bring up for the first time at a Development Review meeting.

New starters 

It would normally be expected that new staff would participate in a Development Review. The Initial Service Review (ISR) process and Development Review should be complementary. ISR is obviously very important and will focus on early progress and performance in the role. In the first year, these discussions should sit alongside and complement Development Review discussions around objective setting, development needs, etc. It is very important to clarify expectations early on and establishing and recording agreed objectives in the first year of an individual’s career here is an important part of this. These objectives can then be carried forward to support a wider review discussion in the following year, looking both backward and forward.

After the meeting:

You must complete task 3 in your reviewee's form, summarising the conversation and capturing any other reflections or observations you wish to make. You can add any relevant attachments if you wish.

You may need to check that your reviewee has updated any objectives or goals that came out of your conversation in the Looking ahead section of their form. 

Once you are both happy that the form is accurate and complete, it is the responsibility of the reviewee to check and finalise the review form. You should only finalise on their behalf in exceptional circumstances. 

Copy of Development Review form

If you require an offline copy of the Development Review form, download Development Review form (Office document, 35kB)

Useful contacts

Contact your departmental HR team for general queries or concerns.

For queries about the Development Review process, contact 


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