Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Personnel Development and Supervision (PA-PDS) 1: Personnel Development

The agency supports effective service delivery through a structured personnel development program that provides personnel with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve positive outcomes for persons served.
2020 Edition




The agency supports personnel and promotes personnel competence, satisfaction, and retention by providing initial and ongoing competency-based training; a variety of personnel development opportunities; and regular, supportive supervision.
Examples: Professional development programs can include: 
  1. direct supervision;
  2. formal, internal personnel training;
  3. internal and external conferences and workshops;
  4. degree or certificate programs;
  5. encouraging personnel to join and participate in professional organizations; 
  6. helping personnel to identify training and educational experiences that are credit bearing; and 
  7. offering tuition reimbursement, financial assistance, or time off.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Annual training and development plan 
  • Annual assessment of training needs
  • Table of contents of orientation curriculum 
  • Procedures for evaluating training effectiveness
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Regional procedures for evaluating training effectiveness
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of orientation 
  • Training curricula 
  • Leadership development activities for the previous and current calendar years
  • Results of evaluation for training effectiveness 
  • Documentation of improvements made based on results of training evaluation efforts 
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Documentation of regional improvements made based on training evaluation efforts
All Agencies
  • Interviews may include: 
    1. HR Director
    2. Relevant personnel

Fundamental Practice

PA-PDS 1.01

The personnel development program:
  1. is reviewed annually and revised in accord with an assessment of the agency’s training needs;
  2. incorporates a variety of educational methods;
  3. is responsive to the history, cultural backgrounds, and related needs of personnel;
  4. outlines specific competency expectations for personnel in core positions or specific job categories; and
  5. provides the opportunity for personnel to fulfill the continuing education requirements of their respective professions.
Examples: Educational methods can include, but are not limited to:
  1. interactive classroom trainings; 
  2. webinars, self-paced trainings, or other computer-assisted training models; 
  3. coaching; and
  4. structured peer support opportunities. 
Examples: Competency expectations may include the knowledge and skills needed to effectively implement new agency-wide practices with fidelity. 


PA-PDS 1.02

The agency supports advancement within the agency and profession by offering, or providing access to, a competency-based leadership development program that:
  1. is aligned with the agency’s strategic and human resource planning; 
  2. identifies desired leadership competencies that support achievement of the agency’s vision, mission, and strategic goals;
  3. outlines the initiatives or activities that will assist eligible personnel in developing those competencies;
  4. establishes performance-driven, objective criteria for eligibility to participate; and
  5. is visible across the agency to promote participation.


Standard implementation can be demonstrated through access to a state-wide leadership development program that meets elements (a) through (e) of the standard.  When an adequate program is not available, the standard requires that the agency implement its own leadership development program that meets the requirements of the standard.

Examples: Criteria for eligibility can include factors such as data on performance over time, assessments of competencies and skills, previous experience, time in current position, etc.

Leadership development programming can include, but is not limited to: trainings, degree or certificate programs, review of relevant professional literature or research, shadowing, additional assignments to develop new skills, leadership mentoring, and exposure to functions outside the individual’s current role. 
NA State-administered agency regional office


PA-PDS 1.03

New personnel are oriented within the first three months of hire to the agency's mission, philosophy, goals, and services.


PA-PDS 1.04

The agency’s training evaluation practices are incorporated into the agency’s overall performance and quality improvement initiatives and:
  1. include methods for assessing knowledge and skill acquisition such as pre- and post-testing and direct practitioner observation;
  2. are data-driven;
  3. include mechanisms to identify trends and make improvements at regular intervals; and
  4. are continuously evolving to include greater focus on knowledge transfer and quality improvement.


Training evaluation exists on a continuum ranging from personnel surveys that look only at satisfaction and perceived competence following training to evaluating the impact of training on positive outcomes. While agencies will fall at various stages along this continuum, every agency should be actively working towards developing more sophisticated systems for evaluating the delivery and effectiveness of their training activities.

In regards to element (a), data from assessments should be used to inform the individual’s ongoing professional development and, in the aggregate, should inform improvements to recruitment, selection, professional development, and supervision activities. 
Examples: Agencies may pursue partnerships with universities or other external experts to develop more sophisiticated training evaluation systems.