Application Sifting Case Study
KPMG Case Study

Positive Action Pathway (PAP) is a talent scheme for Civil Servants from the following under represented groups; women, minority ethnic groups, those with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It is a leadership and talent management scheme designed to improve under representation at all levels in the Civil Service and is a significant initiative in increasing Diversity and Inclusion across all departments.


The aim of PAP is to help participants increase their skills, knowledge and confidence and compete on an equal footing for promotion.
PAP is an annual programme running over twelve months across all government departments. Entry is competitive and merit-based, with a two-stage application and selection process. Each placement onto the Pathway is approved by the Talent Management Team in the individual Government Departments.

People Vision were invited to evaluate or as more commonly known “Sift” the application forms for this process.



Timescales and deadlines can sometimes be challenging to manage in a large scale project. The sifting is only one part of a wider programme which involves various stages from the invitation to the initiative to the delivery of workshops to the chosen participants on specific dates.  

In addition, some of the applicants had specific needs which meant they needed longer to submit the applications therefore limiting the time available for the People Vision team to sift the applications.



The Lead Consultant (Tracy Mountain) trained the selected Assessors to ensure they were briefed on the Civil Service competencies that they were evaluating against.

10% of all applications were quality controlled and the Assessors were given feedback where scores were either incongruent or there was a concern.
697 applications were sifted in 6 days with 11 consultants or “Assessors”.


Each application was provided to People Vision in PDF format. The Assessor then made annotations beside each competence, evidencing where the applicant did or did not meet the criteria.

The competencies measured against were:

  • Seeing the Bigger Picture (Grade 7 only).

  • Delivering at Pace (AA/AO grade only).

  • Changing and Improving.

  • Leading and Communicating.

  • Building Capability for All.

  • Motivation for Applying.


Over 6 days People Vision reviewed all 697 applications.

Each application was reviewed and returned with annotations:

  • At least 2 comments both positive or negative per competence to support the score allocated.

  • Additional comments where relevant.

All scores were collated to a tracker for each Assessor to ensure full transparency and in case a further audit should be required.

At the end of the project the client held a moderation meeting which was attended by the Lead Consultant and Civil Service where applications were discussed in real time and critically compared to ensure all parties were satisfied with the scoring undertaken by People Vision.


Civil Service Learning were extremely pleased with the standard of work and the project was signed off with no further action required.



The Civil Service has agreed to use People Vision to carry out Phase 2 of this programme and carry out the same sifting process this time for 3 different Grades later in the year.

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