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Preparing and completing an SDPR: reviewers and reviewees

Find out more about our Staff Development Performance Review (SDPR) purpose and process, as well as guidance on which forms to use.

What the purpose of an SDPR should be

The Staff Development and Performance Review (SDPR) is an opportunity for a purposeful conversation away from the day-to-day, to focus on the individual and their wellbeing, performance and development.

It's not about the form

The SDPR form offers a structure for a conversation and enables record-keeping, but filling out the form is not the purpose of the SDPR and should not be the focus.

It's good to talk

Your review should focus on a high quality conversation that raises awareness of a reviewee’s successes, challenges, strengths and development needs.

Checking in

This is a chance to deepen your understanding of your reviewee and explore what else might be needed to ensure they can perform their role and stay healthy. There are lots of resources around wellbeing and future ways of working that can help you with this.


Take time to reflect. Talk about what it was possible to achieve from last year’s objective list and give feedback about how people have been doing. What are the positive and successful behaviours you’ve noticed, and what could be improved or developed?

Looking ahead

What goals can you set, within the limits of uncertainty about the coming year? Planning for different scenarios may be helpful. It is helpful to set some concrete goals, but be sure to acknowledge that achieving some may depend on circumstances beyond your control.


What are the longer-term ambitions of the reviewee, and how can they be supported and aligned with the University’s needs? What new skills, knowledge or ways of working should be in the plan for the year ahead?


An SDPR form is not a letter to the University. It can only be a record of commitments made by the two people involved in the conversation. Set goals and objectives wisely according to the circumstances and ensure that your reviewee − with your support − is committed to them.

Keep a record

The SDPR form enables you to capture the main thoughts and commitments from your conversation. This is a way of focusing your though process and to have something to refer back to, but having 'something to put on the form' does not prove that the meeting was a success. Aim for a rich and honest conversation that leaves your reviewee feeling valued and clear about how they can have a fulfilling and successful year.

Some academic departments have adopted a different review format called career conversations − the guidance on this page applies whether you are using these or a traditional SDPR.

SDPR: purpose, frequency and key steps

The Staff Development and Performance Review (SDPR) is an opportunity for staff to:

  • receive feedback on their performance
  • discuss and set objectives for the coming year
  • explore and support their learning needs and career aspirations

When to hold an SDPR

All core (not casual) staff who have completed probation are required to undertake a SDPR annually, and Heads of Department are responsible for making sure this happens through their usual management structure.

Staff normally have their first SDPR around six months after completing probation, allowing them to reflect on objectives and development goals set in the end of probation review. This interval may vary to fit the business cycle of the department.

Key steps for arranging and completing an SDPR

When arranging and completing an SDPR there are six keys steps you should follow:

  1. Identify which job family your department is in and whether your department is using the Effective Behaviours Framework (EBF).
  2. Identify and review the relevant SDPR forms for the reviewee's grade/job family, and complete in advance where necessary.
  3. Complete your relevant training.
  4. Conduct your SDPR meeting.
  5. Complete the SDPR forms to reflect your discussions.
  6. Upload the completed and signed forms to Manager Self Service.

Using the correct forms

The forms you need to use for your SDPR will vary depending on your grade, job family and whether your Department is using the Effective Behaviours Framework (EBF).

Reviewee's grade/job family SDPR form
Staff in roles at grade 2 in all job families SDPR grade 2 self-review form, SDPR grade 2 SDPR form and SDPR grade 2 manager review form
Staff in grade 3 and above in job families not yet using the EBF framework (e.g. Operational, Facilities Support (OFS), and Technical and Experimental (T&E)) SDPR form
Staff in the Management, Specialist and Administration (MSA) job family SDPR+ form
Staff in grade 3 and above in the Education and Research job family SDPR E&R form

All forms and guidance can be downloaded from the following SDPR forms and guidance pages:

Completing the relevant training

If you are conducting an SDPR for the first time, you must complete the reviewer training beforehand.

If you are being reviewed for the first time you are encouraged to complete the reviewee training beforehand.

Course dates are detailed on the staff learning and development webpage.

You can also self-enrol and complete the online course on Moodle called Staff Development and Performance Review (SDPR) at any time.

Uploading or viewing a completed SDPR form via MSS or ESS

Uploading an SDPR form

As a Manager you can record and upload SDPR forms for the people you directly line manage onto iTrent through Manager Self Service (MSS).

In academic departments the SDPR forms are usually logged by:

  • department coordinators for Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors
  • line managers for research staff and teaching fellows

Viewing previously uploaded SDPR forms

Once your SDPR form has been uploaded to MSS you can view your own forms through Employee Self Service (ESS).

If you are a Manager and wish to see the SDPR forms for those people you line manage, you can view them via MSS.

Download instructions for uploading or viewing SDPR forms

Find out how to upload or view SDPR forms.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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