PRDP purpose and benefits

The process

The PRDP process provides a formal platform for you to engage in a constructive and meaningful discussion with your manager that:

  • Acknowledges your successes and achievements from the previous year.
  • Reviews your personal contributions and performance.
  • Provides the opportunity for ongoing two-way feedback.
  • Explores your career aspirations.
  • Agrees and sets your objectives for the next 6 to 12 months.
  • Identifies and plans your future training and development needs.

Having an effective PRDP conversation

Having an effective PRDP conversation provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Have an uninterrupted discussion with your line manager to review achievements and any difficulties.
  • Plan and set a clear direction for the coming year.
  • Review your personal development needs and career aspirations.
  • Review your job description in the light of new duties or changing circumstances.
  • Received and provide feedback.

PRDPs work best when:

PRDPs work best when:

  • Both you and your manager are committed to the process, plan for the meeting and use it constructively. 
  • The conversation is built on a foundation of good communication and regular feedback.
  • There is an emphasis on the conversation rather than diligently completing a form.
  • Goals and actions agreed upon are reviewed regularly.


Process and paperwork

PRDPs should take place annually with regular reviews at a minimum of 6 months. PRDP cycles vary in different departments to allow for different pressure points.
The meetings tend to be scheduled for 45-90 minutes.

The process usually starts with your manager inviting you to a PRDP meeting.  However, you can also inform your manager that you’d like a PRDP meeting if you think it is overdue.
The College produces PRDP forms as templates to support meaningful PRDPs.
They are prompts to shape and support meaningful conversations.
They suggest topics to be covered and provide a basic means of recording the most useful areas of the PRDP conversation.
The paperwork can be found on these pages and it may be helpful to jot some points down ahead of the meeting.

Before the meeting

Both you and your manager are responsible for making the process useful and impactful.

Therefore it’s important that you are fully prepared for your PRDP.

You can use the PRDP Preparation checklist and development planning guidance - Staff to help you prepare for the meeting. This provides prompt questions and guidance on

  • Reviewing and setting objectives.
  • Reviewing your overall performance.
  • Exploring career aspirations.
  • Development planning - identifying and meeting your needs.

During the meeting

The meeting provides you with the opportunity to:

  • Review the previous year’s:
    • Achievements and highlights
    • Key learnings and development
    • Progress made against objectives
  • Exploring  your career plans and aspirations
  • Provide context for the forthcoming year  - your manager may have information to share about the direction the team or department is going, the strategic objectives, and any challenges or changes.
  • Agree on your goals and targets for the upcoming year.
    • Wherever possible objectives should be SMART - Specific Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound or Timely, you can find out more about SMART objectives here:
  • Identify development needs and opportunities.

After the meeting

  • The paperwork needs to be completed, agreed and signed by you and your manager.
  • The PRDP form and objectives should be jointly reviewed at the six-month point as a minimum during the year. This enables progress in meeting objectives and implementing the development plan to be discussed and further action to be agreed as necessary.
  • Both you and your manager have an ongoing responsibility to review and to take action.

Overcoming challenges

Lack of  feedback during the year

  • You should be receiving regular feedback throughout the year.
  •  If you feel there is a  lack of appreciation, positive and constructive feedback – you should raise this during the year and again in the PRDP if needed. Develop plans with your manager to rectify this going forward.

Differences of opinion between appraiser and appraisee

Differences of opinion occur from time to time. These are often due to unclear communication and misunderstandings.  If the relationship is working well and you have been having regular one-to-ones and exchanges of feedback, it reduces the likelihood that immovable differences will emerge during the PRDP.

If a disagreement occurs:

  • An exploration of the different perspectives can be useful as a first step to resolving the situation.
  • Open questions, suspending judgement, asking for more information and each party aiming to understand the other more fully are useful techniques.
  • If the issue is relatively insignificant, agree to record the differences and move on.
  • If the issue is significant and the exploration has not generated results, it may be necessary to involve a third party – possibly your manager’s line manager or HR.

Relationship to pay/promotion:

  • The College’s process is designed to focus on the quality of the conversation and to provide an open, honest forum for discussing work and development goals. This can be harder to achieve when our attention is narrowed by concerns about the resulting impact on our financial security. Research from the CIPD (2016) reported the value of having clear water between pay/promotion conversations and conversations focusing on development and making improvements.
  • Clearly, there is a relationship between the actions discussed in an appraisal and the judgements made concerning pay and promotion. However, these activities should not be conducted concurrently.