City University lecturers who perform poorly may have their salaries frozen under a new assessment programme. The university is also planning to merge or cut some committees as part of plans to increase efficiency. Vice-President Professor Wong Yuk-shan said yesterday that the university was working out an appraisal system. 'In the past we have focused much on training and developmental work and overlooked our appraisal system. We are determined to raise our staff quality, so we have decided to do much more in rewarding outstanding staff and penalising staff who perform poorly,' he said. The absence of an appraisal system for academic staff was highlighted by the University Grants Committee, which has conducted a management review of City University. 'While performance is appraised at the end of the probationary period and on application for a promotion, there is no mechanism for identifying and managing poorly performing staff at other times,' the committee said. 'The panel urges the university to work towards introducing an ongoing and judgmental appraisal scheme for all academic staff as a matter of priority. 'If used properly, this may also be an effective lever for steering the overall direction of the university.' In the management review report, the committee commended the university for developing a strategic plan and for achieving a strong sense of ownership of the plan across the institution. It also said the way it allocated resources was relatively transparent and generally understood across the university, but warned that the budget-hearing process should be clearly explained. Professor Wong said the university last year started reserving five per cent of its budget as the 'president's reserve'. Departments which required extra money for special programmes could request a hearing.