Organisational Development

Achievement and Development Reviews (formerly Appraisals)

Everything that you'll need to prepare for annual staff Achievement and Development Reviews.

What are Achievement and Development Reviews?

A refreshed approach to staff development and support, Achievement and Development Reviews (ADRs) are a key part of the ‘harnessing talent’ element of our People Strategy. They aim to support staff to set professional and career development goals, to measure their success and progress against their objectives, and to develop new objectives that are achievable and measurable. 

Key points

  • All Sussex staff are expected to have an annual ADR between 1 May and 30 September and use the relevant ADR form to record agreed objectives and actions. The form is intended to be a live document that is reviewed throughout the year. Updated forms and guidance now available below. 
  • ADRs should be carried out with the line manager, or a delegated reviewer in the same School or Division who knows the individual. Reviewers are expected to undertake training and be provided with clear guidance.
  • The output from the ADR should include a set of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART) annual objectives and an agreed development plan relevant to the individual’s role.
  • The ADR provides space for the reviewee to reflect on how the University’s values and EDI considerations are demonstrated in their role, and to discuss their own experiences, as is felt appropriate.
  • The ADR should include an opportunity for the individual to discuss their wellbeing and work-life balance, and any support needs.
  • For Academic and Research staff, the ADR is also an opportunity to reflect on the past year and how the reviewee is supporting both academic freedom and Freedom of Speech in their teaching and research, and to discuss their own experience, as is felt appropriate.
  • The ADR is confidential but certain elements of the agreed outcomes can be extracted and shared, subject to the consent of the reviewee (e.g. for Discretionary Pay Review purposes).
  • It is assumed that the vast majority of the University Leadership Team will use the Professional Services ADR Form due to the nature of their roles, however Academic ADR Forms are available too.

ADR guidance and supporting resources

To support you with your conversations and with completing the forms, read the ADR guidance for Professional Services staff and Academic and Research staff. In these guidance documents you can find information on:

  • The ADR process and guiding principles
  • The roles of those involved
  • Skills for a great ADR conversation
  • Guidance on how to complete the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech, EDI, and Wellbeing sections of the form
  • Setting SMART objectives
  • Frequently asked questions

Other resources to support you

Forms and guidance for Professional Services staff

NOTE: Forms and guidance were updated on 20 June 2024.

BSMS Appraisal Scheme

For clinical academics whose Honorary Clinical Contract is held with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust (BSUHT), the review year runs from 1 April to 31 March. The window for ADR meeetings is 1 May to 31 January. Staff are advised to contact the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Medical Appraisal and Revalidation team. If you have any queries, contact or 01273 696955 ext.7288.

Clinical academics whose contract is with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust should email

For clinical academics where the Honorary Clinical Contract is held elsewhere (other than BSUHT), see the appraisal guidance and form:

ADR Summary Returns

All Schools and Divisions are required to return their ADR completion summary data annually to HR. Heads of Schools and Divisions will receive email reminders before the end of the annual review periods. For more information regarding summary returns, please refer to the ADR guidance resources.

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Contact and advice

Organisational Development
Sussex House SH-230
01273 075533 (ext 5533)