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Forced Ranking with Forced Distribution ?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A recent RCTU new article referenced comments from the outgoing Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude made in an interview with Civil Service World. In this article speculation was raised by the minister that to prevent “management gaming” ( that is giving “must improve” to those about to leave or those just joining a team ) , there needs to be “forced ranking”. Basically you list the team , say of 10 , from 1 to 10 – based of course upon objective and business linked indicators completely within the control of the individual to deliver ( Editor’s note : It appears our contributor here may have found the mythical hoard of Tipp-Ex thinners – for younger readers please see recent HMG moves to ban all psychoactive substances ) linked by grade , profession group and appropriate competency cluster in the CS Competency Framework….( steady on ! ) .

Sounds concerning - does it not ? The reality is that an already discredited system will come a’ tumbling down under its’ own weight of total ennui. To cap it all , in the same interview and repeated as a quote in a final interview the following month – Maude states “forced distribution”. This means that either senior management in HMRC has been economical with the truth as they are on record time and again as saying “guided distribution” or the minister has himself been “gamed”?

What HMRC staff know is the system is overly bureaucratic , time consuming , divisive , poorly run through less than robust guidance and coupled with an appeals system that is , frankly, pathetic ( joke is not the word to use ) means an inefficient system that destroys business delivery , lacks governance and encourages , at worst , excessive control stifling diversity and new thinking. This is , of course , the polite version of the system.

Recently I had the pleasure of talking to an extremely intelligent young man who has a master’s degree in all things system analysis allied to Pacesetter and PMRs et al ….. he said what he saw in HMRC was “quite frightful” …. I like to think he was protecting an older colleague ( me ) from his real horror at what we are not doing properly.

There must be negotiations both in HMRC ( primarily and by negotiators who actually can negotiate – RCTU )and Civil Service wide to amend this insane situation. However there is no Trade Union vehicle for a collective response to the Cabinet Office – recent PCS actions have alienated Prospect and the FDA even further.

Add to the fact we now have a new minister for Civil Service reform – Matt Hancock. Mr Hancock is a close colleague of the Chancellor…..


We in the RCTU are committed to working with other Trade Unions in forming a new Council of Civil Service Unions


And finally .. another in the “you could not make it up series ….

We noted and people have asked us about , Question 264 on the Hotseat on the HMRC intranet. We thank the PCS Branch Chair who asked the question. Why it was done ? – we know not ( we could debate that as the individual is well known to us as are his actual views and was close to several RCTU senior reps  …. ),  but let us here – as we have on Yammer and by submitting a Hotseat response to the Question and the reply – set out the facts rather than indulge questions and ambiguous replies …..

  1. The RCTU has been open on this website and our previous site  ; we need members , lots of them , to even think about formally approaching the employer to seek recognition for collective bargaining purposes.
  2. The RCTU has been open and clear to the employer that our goal is have thousands of members and that with a growing base ; we would want to formally discuss recognition with the employer. HMRC have asked to be kept appraised of our development but they are firmly neutral .  Do we need tens of thousands to start this process ? – no. But it would be more than useful but it can be a lot less and still bring success. ( Frankly it could easily be said that this is not a numbers game but who is afraid of what ? Why does the RCTU inspire such fear ? )
  3. We are able , as a listed Trade Union within the Trade Union & Labour Relations Act 1992 , to represent RCTU members in personal cases ( something notified to HMRC who acknowledge this legal right ) – and we are doing just that ( we noted another attempt last week via a false posting on a social media site claiming to be from a RCTU member who could not get support for - and this bit did ring true - a PMR appeal - and could they please , please re-join the PCS ….. it was removed as it was completely untrue ).
  4. We are at a chicken and egg moment – people want to join but want to know we will negotiate on issues for them ( let alone the opening of the floodgates when we do get recognition – you know who you are ! ) . Well – we will get recognition and we will negotiate but you have to join – it is all down to you – join and it will happen – stay where you are watch as the ship sinks – simple. Many have joined , many have said they want to , many have yet to hear about the RCTU .

Up to YOU – YOU have the choice and whatever YOU decide – that will be the outcome.

We invite YOU to be part of the solution – JOIN the RCTU

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