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Human Resources


Staff Review and Development (SRD) is for University employees, across all grades and areas of work in the University. Its key purpose is to enhance work effectiveness and support professional development. 

Regular SRD conversations, along with ongoing one-to-one meetings, help to align the longer term personal, professional and development goals of individuals with the aims and strategic objectives of the team, the institution and the University. In practice, SRD enables conversations that support increased satisfaction, motivation, well-being, and contribute to building strong and effective working relationships. 

Benefits of effective SRD discussions and regular one-to-one meetings include: 

  • Enhanced and sustained motivation and morale, by recognising successes and empowering individuals to make decisions about their work and development.  
  • Support for a culture of continuous review and improvement, enhancing performance and clarifying personal responsibility.  
  • An inclusive and positive working culture, supported by effective two-way communication and open styles of management, leadership and collaboration. 
  • Support for employee well-being by building trust and awareness of individual needs and responsibilities. 
  • Consistency of good working practices and shared strategic vision. 
  • Help to recognise, develop and retain valuable skills, knowledge and experience within the University contributing to high levels of employee development and retention. 

Click on the sections below for full details. 

For employees in the School of Clinical Medicine, please see School of Clinical Medicine Appraisals for local procedures and guidance. 


In most cases, for SRD to be effective, the conversations should be embedded into a cycle of regular one-to-one meetings, so that the agreed objectives and plans are revisited and updated as circumstances evolve. In a peer review model, sometimes used in an academic environment, the conversation may be continued more informally.  

While there may be some local differences in approach between different areas and groups of employees, there are three key elements that are essential for SRD to be effective:  

  1. Preparation by both parties. 
  2. A well-structured meeting with clear, agreed and recorded outcomes. 
  3. Actions to plan and achieve the agreed objectives for both work and development. 

This forms a basis for ongoing discussions to review and re-align goals as the year progresses.  

An overall review of SRD at an institutional level can also help to identify wider trends and provide opportunity for further two-way communication. 



An annual SRD is a chance to step back and review the year and to plan ahead. Some Departments identify a term or a month for all staff to have these discussions. For others, it may be done on a timeframe that works for an individual or team. Either can be effective and it is helpful to review what works best locally to ensure opportunity for all and to support best practice. Please also see the Guidance for Institutions.

Newly appointed employees should expect to have an initial meeting after completion of the probationary period. Further SRD meetings and ongoing one-to-one conversations will then follow as above. 

Allocation of a reviewer

Summary by staff type:

Academic staff Research staff Professional service (assistant and academic-related) staff
Academic staff may be reviewed by their Head of Institution or by an academic peer, usually with pairs made on the basis of seniority.   Postdoctoral research staff will normally be reviewed by their academic research lead (principal investigator, line manager/supervisor).   Professional service staff (assistant and academic-related) will normally be reviewed by their line manager.  

In some cases, depending on the local team, research area or reporting structures, an alternative or additional reviewer may be arranged in agreement with the individual and their formal line manager. This should be raised with the local institutional administrator and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Recording the outcomes

The University SRD record template (PD25) is available and commonly used to record the key points from the discussion.  

Where appropriate, institutions may develop a modified version for all or different groups of staff. Check with the institutional administrator for the appropriate version to record the key points regarding reviewing the past year and planning ahead.  

An alternative Ourcambridge SRD pilot form and guidance for professional service staff is also available. Further information at ourcambridge Sharepoint site 

For employees in the School of Clinical Medicine please see School of Clinical Medicine Appraisals 

Confidentiality, storage and data protection

The discussion is confidential between the reviewer and the reviewee. The agreed written record will be reviewed by the Head of Institution to gain an oversight of the area, in order to identify any particular trends, challenges and areas of good practice. Collectively and anonymously, these may inform planning and communication more widely in the area.  

The institutional administrator, or named other, will record the date (ideally on CHRIS, see section 11 of CHRIS for Institutions manual) and store the written record securely. The individual should also keep a secure copy of the written record, to inform further discussion. In some teams, an overview of agreed individual work objectives is a useful way to consider the workplan for the team overall.  

SRD is not linked to other processes such as disciplinary, capability, promotion or recognition of distinction decisions (also see School of Clinical Medicine Appraisals). Individuals however may wish to draw on the conversations when considering applying for promotion or to support, for example, Academic Career Pathways or Contribution Reward Schemes.  

For information as to how your SRD related data will be used and stored, please see the University webpages at 

Equality and Diversity

All discussion should be conducted in line with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy which incorporates a pro-active and inclusive approach to equality, supporting and encouraging all under-represented groups, promoting an inclusive culture, and valuing diversity.  

Guidance and support for individual reviewees and reviewers

Further guidance is available for all employees as reviewees, and for those in roles reviewing others. Visit Personal and Professional Development: SRD for scheduled and online resources. As always, use peers and colleagues to discuss how to get the most of these discussions, consider your own skills and experience so far and draw on others to share good practice.  

Guidance for institutions is also available.