A Volcanic Anticlimax
This is the time of year when all supervisors, even just pretend-supervisors like me, have to assess and rate their underlings. I have been reliably informed by someone who has never worked with anyone on my shift, nor any police officers, that most of my team are pretty average. To be precise, about 60% of them are average. Further to that, 20% of them are under-performing, 15% of them are doing better than average, and 5% are truly gifted. If I grade my team in any other proportion, the chances are I don't know what I'm doing and my gradings will be rejected by someone in an office forty miles away.
Over the force as a whole, just 10% of staff are graded with the top rating - Fabuloso. It may surprise you to hear that most of the Fabuloso staff are Superintendents or above.* Which is reassuring, except that the rating is supposed to be according to your current role and not as some kind of measurement of your worth against all other human beings. It seems likely there might be some Fabulous PCs, quite a lot of Darned Good ones, a high number of Reasonably Competents or Somewhat Strugglings, and a scattering of Total Nincompoops. But no, according to my trainer, a startingly high proportion of senior officers are performing very highly, which means a frightening number of PCs should really be facing inefficiency regs**.
In actual fact, it is almost impossible to grade a PC as anything other than Reasonably Competent, without the full wrath of the PDR system bearing down on me. I try to explain this to my staff, but they can't help being suspicious that I'm just using bureaucracy as an excuse. And so I am forced to write things like: "Lloyd is a potentially Darned Good officer" and "Becks is almost Somewhat Struggling". At least it puts into context some of the end-of-year reviews I have received in the past.
I am still waiting with bated breath to find out what my own review will say. In fact, no I'm not. The rules state that if you've been doing a job for less than three months, there is only one grading that can be chosen. That's the only fair way.
Then again, the only time anyone ever reads your PDR is if you're about to be kicked out of the job, and then your series of "Reasonably Competents" looks a bit less demoralising.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.
* These figures are based on the trainer's input, there is no way to actually establish their accuracy without seeing my senior managers' PDRs.
** This is how you get someone kicked out for under-performing.