OPM has told agencies to report on their fiscal 2017 performance ratings, and related performance-based pay increases and awards, for SES members and other career employees at senior levels.

“OPM will consolidate the submitted data for inclusion in OPM’s annual report on executive pay for performance. OPM will also analyze the data to determine correlation of performance ratings and ratings-based pay and awards, separately, when reviewing organizations’ requests for certification of SES and SL/ST performance appraisal systems,” a memo said.

As in prior years, it said, the goal is to examine whether the “performance appraisal process results in meaningful distinctions being made based on relative performance” and “the strength of the correlation between performance ratings and ratings-based pay and awards, separately.”

The SES evaluation system in particular has come under scrutiny for years because almost no execs are rated as performing unacceptably and about half are rated at the top of the five levels, with almost all of the rest rated just one level below. Further, there is substantial variation of ratings distributions among agencies, with agencies such as AID, Education, Justice and State consistently rating two-thirds or more of their execs at the highest level while agencies such as VA, GSA and OPM giving that rating to a fifth or fewer.

Agencies are to follow procedures outlined in the memo to protect personally identifiable information in making their reports, which are due March 30.