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All NDCN staff who are beyond their probation period are offered the opportunity to have a Personal Development Review (PDR). This is an annual conversation that is dedicated to their personal and career development, giving them the opportunity to agree goals and objectives and creating an environment in which feedback can be heard and received. PDRs take place between a reviewee (a member of staff) and a reviewer (most often their line manager) and the process is intended to prompt both parties to:

  • reflect on what has been achieved since the last PDR
  • plan ahead over a longer time period, taking into account the group or department priorities
  • identify learning and development needs and solutions
  • discuss any career aspirations that the reviewee wants to share
  • consider any other work related issues that need to be addressed (such as barriers to achievement, resources, buildings, working relationships or suggestions for process or system changes)
  • follow up with regular one to one conversations during the year


  • The reviewee prepares for the PDR conversation by completing the PDR form ahead of the PDR meeting. This encourages consideration of the reviewee's achievements over the last year; any changes in their responsibilities; any progress or barriers in meeting objectives, training and development activities; workload and their working environment. The reviewee is also asked to propose objectives for the next year, and any training required in order to meet these. 
  • The reviewee sends the PDR form to the reviewer, to which the reviewer adds their own reflections. Both parties meet, using the form as a discussion prompt for the PDR conversation and agree a set of objectives and training needs for the coming year. These objectives are reviewed at regular one to one conversations during the year and revised as needed.

PDRs are managed centrally by the NDCN HR Team, who can provide further information about the process. The reviewer should send a copy of the completed PDR form to after the PDR meeting has taken place


  • PDR Principles: find out more about the essentials and principles of PDR.
  • PDR for Reviewees: guide for reviewees on how to make the most of your PDR and have effective career conversations. 
  • PDR for Reviewers: guide for reviewers on their role in the PDR, how to agree objectives, learning and development conversations, and career conversations with members of staff.


Competency and development frameworks can provide a structured way to approach personal development: