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Annual Confidential Report

Annual Confidential Report (ACR) a performance evaluation report of a public servant written by his immediate superior. In addition to performance it contains specific observations on the character, conduct and integrity of the officer reported upon. ACR is to be countersigned by an officer immediately superior to the officer who writes the report on his immediate subordinate. The report is classified as confidential.

This system of evaluation of the performance, conduct and character of public servants has a long and chequered history. Until 1834, the principle of promotion in career was wholly based on seniority which was determined by the date of entry in the service. This principle was departed from by an order of the Governor General in Council passed on 28 January 1834. The order laid down that appointment to a vacant post would not be on the basis of seniority alone. In consideration of competence and qualifications a junior might supersede a senior. This order laid the foundation for annual confidential reports previously known as character rolls. In the beginning it was an open official record, but later it was made secret and finally made confidential.

The system of ACR continued during the Pakistan period. The prescribed form of ACR was printed in Bangla in 1974 and this form continued till 1981. In 1982 a new prescribed form, called ACR form 1, with provision for annual medical examination report was printed in English. A new element introduced was the part relating to the 'pen picture' of the ACR which would have to be signed by the officer reported upon. The 1982 form was printed in Bangla in 1983 and this was in use till 1985. In 1986 the earlier form was modified to exclude the requirement of signature of the officer reported upon in the portion relating to 'pen picture'. A new element was also introduced under heading 'overall assessment'. This form continued till 1989. In 1990, ACR form was further modified and this is still in use.

The major changes introduced relate to grading of officers. In the form introduced in 1982 the grading categories consisted of outstanding with scores between 91-100, good 81-90, high average 65-80, average 45-64, below average 31-44 and unsatisfactory 20-30. In the form, which is in use since 1990, grading categories and the score were changed. Under this system outstanding has scores of 95-100, very good 85-94, good 61-84, average 41-60 and below average 40 and below.

ACR system is also applicable for non-gazetted officers and employees excluding the lower subordinate service. Their ACR form is different from those of gazetted officers.

Adverse remarks written by the reporting officer have to be communicated to the officer who may be affected. The latter has a right to reply to the adverse remarks. The reply is then commented upon by the reporting officer. Based on this the head of office, usually the countersigning officer, decides whether or not to expunge the adverse remarks. If adverse remarks are not communicated at all, they stand nullified. [AMM Shawkat Ali]