General CDR FAQs

Answers to the most common CDR queries

This page answers many of the most common queries about the CDR process for professional services staff. Please get in touch at if you have a CDR question which is not addressed here. 

What's the difference between the standard and the consolidated CDR processes? 

The full process will be relevant to most PS staff, however, where a staff member is undertaking a role that has fixed performance standards that vary little from year to year, they and their line manager can opt to use the consolidated process. The consolidated process has fewer steps as it does not potentially need to respond to change as much as the regular process. 

How do I know which process is right for me? 

You can get an overview of the consolidated process by watching this video. Ultimately, if you think the consolidated version might be right for you, discuss your options with you line manager and agree a way forward together. 

Where can I find information about CDRs for academic staff? 

CDRs for PS and academic staff are slightly different, find out more about the process for academic staff here

When should I set objectives for my team?

Objectives and/or performance standards for professional services staff should be set across the School at the start of each new financial year e.g. from August onwards. These will be done as a cascade, i.e.:

  • The Director agrees the Chief Operating Officer’s objectives

  • The Chief Operating Officer then agrees Service Leaders’ objectives

  • Service Leaders then agree line managers’ objectives

  • Line managers agree staff objectives

This will ensure that objectives are aligned for all professional services staff.

How many objectives should be set?

Each individual should have up to 5 objectives.

Do objectives have to be developmental/stretching?

Whilst we strongly support developing staff and would encourage stretching and developmental objectives, this may be difficult to achieve for all staff and all roles.

All objectives should be SMART:

  • Specific -  it should be clear what is expected

  • Measurable - how will you know what has been achieved ?

  • Achievable - is it genuinely possible to achieve?

  • Relevant - how does it support our strategy and priorities? 

  • Time-bound - what is the specifc deadline or timeframe? 

What should be included in objectives?

Objectives should be aligned to both the plans of the Department/Centre/Divisions and LSE 2030.

Objectives can include:

  • Citizenship activities

  • Developmental projects

  • Student support

Objectives for line managers should include at least one objective about people/team management.

As outlined earlier, objectives should be written in such a way that they are:

  • Specific - it should be clear what is expected

  • Measurable - how will you know what has been achieved ?

  • Achievable - is it genuinely possible to achieve?

  • Relevant - how does it support our strategy and priorities? 

  • Time-bound - what is the specifc deadline or timeframe? 

Who should set the objectives?

This depends on the role the employee holds. For some roles, the objectives are set by the line manager, for other roles they can be set jointly by the line manager and employee. For all roles, the final objectives should be jointly agreed by both the manager and the employee.

What if I have standards rather than objectives? 

If you have standards for your role, they should be agreed and set in much the same way as objectives. If you have standards that do not vary across CDR cycles, you may wish to discuss using the consolidated CDR approach for your CDR with your line manager. You can find out more details about this version of the CDR within this toolkit. 

What if I don't want 'career development'?

As we said above, the CDR process is there to support you and your manager in many ways, it's not just about career development. You can still use the process to manage your workload, share feedback discuss personal development and performance. 

We offer a consolidated version of the process for those whose roles and objectives change less frequently year on year. You can discuss with your line manager whether you would like to use the standard or consolidated version of the CDR and which is more relevant to you and your role. 

You can find out more about the consolidated CDR process and when to use it in this video.

How often should one-to-ones be held?

The frequency of one-to-ones depends on the employee’s role. As a minimum, they should be held at least once a month. However, in some areas they are held fortnightly.

What should be covered in one-to-ones

The format for these one-to-one catch-ups can involve:

  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Prioritising workloads and ensuring a good work/ life balance
  • Monitoring work and work performance
  • Sharing information relevant to work
  • Clarifying task boundaries
  • Identifying learning and development needs
  • People management (if relevant to role)
  • Checking in on and supporting wellbeing and work-life balance 

A one-to-one should also include, where appropriate, pastoral matters relating to personal issues that have been raised through work, such as:

  • Discussing whether (and how) any outside factors are affecting the employee’s work

Do we have to document one-to-ones?

Whether or not you record one-to-ones depends on the role and your local arrangements. Some areas have introduced a form to capture one-to-one conversations; this is a local decision by each area.

It is a good idea to capture progress against objectives as you go through the process. You may also wnat to review and adjust objectives as you progress through the year. 

Can I do one-to-ones remotely?

Ideally one-to-ones will be held face-to-face, however when this is not possible, they may be held remotely. 

When should progress reviews be held?

The progress review should be held and recorded between June and July each year. HR will track completion of the reviews and completion data will be reported to the Chief Operating Officer.

Who should draft the progress review paperwork?

The employee should complete the review part of the CDR form in preparation for the meeting, ideally at least a week beforehand so that their manager has time to read the form and consider the contents.

When completing the form, the employee should aim to include:

  • Their key achievements against their performance standards and objectives.
  • Any other achievements on top of their objectives, including wider activity beyond the scope of their role. The nature of these other achievements may vary but could include involvement in Green Impact teams, School networks (such as Spectrum, Power, Embrace and Parents and Carers), or contribution towards School achievements.

Following the progress review conversation, the manager should complete the “Manager's overall comments on performance” section of the form.

Where can I find the CDR form?

You can find the relevant CDR forms in this toolkit. 

Previously we used different forms throughout the process, what do I do with my objectives setting form? 

Yes, we've have combined objectives, development and progress recording, moving from three forms to one. This will make everyone's life easier going forward. For the 2023/24 CDR cycle, you will need to copy your objectives into the final form as you did before, but for all future CDRs, everything will be done on the one form, which will be aliving document throughout the year. 

What should be covered in the progress review?

The progress review is a summary one-to-one so as such should cover similar areas as one-to-ones:

  • Key achievements against the employee’s performance standards and objectives.
  • Any other achievements on top of their objectives, including wider activity beyond the scope of their role.
  • Headings of the Effective Behaviours framework relevant for the role.
  • Details of any learning and development undertaken.

Who has access to the completed progress review form?

Completed CDR forms on MyView can be seen by:

  • The employee
  • The employee’s line manager

HR can also see that a form has been uploaded and will report the number of completed progress reviews for each Department/Division/Centre to the Chief Operating Officer.

What if someone in my team has only recently started at LSE and is still in their initial review period?

You can find more information about how to assess and manage the performance of a new starter in the Review Periods Guidance. When the review period ends (and assuming that the employee is confirmed in their post), you should arrange a suitable opportunity with them to discuss the CDR process, such as at the next one-to-one meeting. The employee then begins their CDR cycle. It may be that their first cycle won’t be a full academic year (depending upon when they were confirmed in post) but that’s fine – you should still follow the process as set out in the CDR Toolkit, albeit in a condensed form.

Where can I get further support?

Most questions can be answered by looking at the guidance in the CDR toolkit, but you can also contact us at