Innovation Exchange

Appraisal and Development Review (ADR) Process


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Further Information

In 2016 West Lothian Council introduced the Appraisal & Development Review (ADR) process to develop an employee performance management system that:


  • Encourages positive behaviours and attitudes
  • Promotes effective management and leadership practices
  • Drives behaviour that will improve future performance
  • Links outcomes and individual work plans
  • Moves away from a one size fits all
  • Focusses on both “what” and “how” of performance
  • Provides a corporate overview of development needs
  • Can be linked to other people management processes e.g. recruitment



Theme: Workforce Planning and Management

west lothian council logo

As part of the process of developing and implementing this new approach, the council undertook a number of different tasks including:


  • A competency framework was developed that translated council values and performance measures into management and employee behaviours under key corporate themes.
  • Competencies were developed for leadership and management to reflect current council priorities/objectives and then customised to reflect the different levels of managers and the nature of the role.
  • A rating element was introduced to the new ADR process to provide a basis for performance improvement by generating a discussion about current levels of competency.
  • The process involves a review of an individuals’ current work plan and the creation and validation of a new work plan to reflect team/service priorities.
  • The process was designed to focus on outcomes/ key results areas to ensure that there was a specific purpose for assessing competency.
  • ADR was developed with competencies and a process that recognises 5 management and 2 employee levels which is reflected in the templates and supporting documentation.
  • Performance development planning is an integral part of the process using a standard template which will enable the collation of training needs.
  • Role profiles were created for each management level and competencies and behaviours are written with generic content which provides flexibility to use them to underpin other processes e.g. recruitment

The main benefits of the new ADR process can be split into two key themes – business and process benefits


Business Benefits

  • A competency framework has been introduced as part of ADR across management levels and for employees that reflects the key behaviours required for effective performance
  • The process provides a clear focus on outcomes by reflecting on key result areas.
  • The Leadership and Management competencies are being used to develop customised learning and development programmes
  • ADR has been adapted as necessary to ensure that it works for all services/ teams and employees.
  • The core competencies provide a basis for an integrated approach to employee performance with the same competencies used across HR processes e.g. recruitment.


Process Benefits

  • The ADR provides an employee performance management process that meets the needs of all employees and provides a platform for individual and collective improvement.
  • Any barriers to employees participating in ADR have been overcome to ensure that the process is fit for purpose for all relevant employees.
  • ADR documentation is easily accessible and supports the process effectively
  • All managers are conversant with the application of the ADR process and have been given the knowledge and skills to apply it in an effective manner.
  • Learning and development needs can be captured from templates to inform training programmes.

The main learning points we took as the new ADR process was developed and implemented include:


  • Timescale is integral to the ADR process so all elements of implementation had to be prepared to launch it in line with that requirement including templates, guidance, communication, etc.
  • Mandatory training was needed for all line managers over a short period of time (2/3 months) with very little planning time.
  • The process is more time consuming than the previously used Performance Review and Personal Development Plan (PRPDP) which it replaced so it was important to persuade managers/ employees of the benefits of investing additional time.
  • Some teams/ services wanted the templates to better reflect local circumstances and management processes and it was important to adapt the process to meet their needs without undermining the overall integrity of ADR.


Having been through the first cycle of reviews using the new ADR the council are now undertaking a series of feedback sessions with members of management and staff to learn more about what worked and what needs to be improved and developed further.

A performance management process for employees is an essential element of ensuring there is a culture of continuous improvement. The introduction of ADR and the process for ensuring that it happens provides an opportunity for every employee to discuss their performance and should lead to a better understanding of the competencies and behaviours which are expected of all employees.


ADR is a bespoke process that has been developed specifically for the council incorporating its values, priorities and outcomes.  There was significant consultation with a variety of stakeholders before its implementation as well as several pilots.


The competencies that are used to assess employees in ADR will be used in the recruitment, learning and development and induction processes. This will ensure there is an integrated and consistent approach to assessing competency.


The council wide implementation of ADR required a significant input from the team working to tight deadlines to ensure the rollout was in sync with the process timescales.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Chris Keenan

Senior HR Advisor

01506 281419

Case study added to site: February 2017

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