8 March 2013

Friday, 8 March 2013
Brunel Room, Hawthorns
12.00pm – 2.00pm
Mascia Amici (Chair, Physiology and Pharmacology)
Julie Etches (Working Party, Aerospace Engineering)
Andrew Simpkin (Social and Community Medicine)
Lin Bigwood (Social and Community Medicine)
Sara Davies (Geographical Sciences)
Chris Danson (Biochemistry)
John Tarlton (Clinical Veterinary Sciences)
Anna Marriott (Policy Studies)
Shelby Temple (Biological Sciences)
Laura McManus (Staff Development - Human Resources)
Alice Scott (Staff Development - Human Resources)
Marc van der Kamp (Chemistry)
From 1.30pm: Christine Smart (Library Services)
Apologies for absence: David Phillips, Mohamed Ghorbel, Marieke Dubbelboer,
Daniel Schien, Stephen Cornford, Dinithi Wijedasa, Laura Thomas, Kat Tsaousi,
Lynsey Forsyth, Jessica Priestley and Sian Jones.
Chair: Mascia Amici
1. Welcome
Minutes from previous meeting
Link to the minutes was included in the agenda. Mascia apologizes they
are not in the usual form. It would be very helpful if minutes are available
soon, at least before the next Working Party meeting.
Items for discussion:
Actions from previous meeting
Most points related to reporting to the Working Party. This was all done.
Outstanding point: Revising the FAQ for new RS Reps in the website. Check up
on this.
Feedback from Working Party (WP)
a. New performance and enhancement system (the new name for the staff
review process)
New system will be phased in from Oct 2013 for pathway 1 and pathway 2
staff, and from April 2014 for research staff. WP will have influence on how the
system takes shape. The idea is that staff reviews will be strongly encouraged,
almost compulsory.
b. Details of RS Reps to go to appropriate HR managers
This has happened, but no RS Reps have been contacted by the HR
managers yet. (HR was not represented at the WP meeting). One of the
reasons and goal of this is that new staff should be notified that RS Reps exist
and who their RS Reps are.
c. New acceptable behaviours policy
Vikki Layton from HR has developed the policy (previously known as ‘bullying
and harassment policy’). She would like to help us with dissemination, but
there are no further details yet. We should get back to her (and Tracy
Brunnock) about this.
d. University email address existence after leaving
The issue is that email addresses and inboxes will cease to exist upon
redundancy. This is an issue, for example when you have used the email
address as corresponding author information on publications. An email about
this was going to be sent (via Guy Orpen) to IT, but nothing has changed yet.
One solution can be to be given honorary status for e.g. 12 months, but not all
departments will do this.
The new gmail system should solve this and there will supposedly be no need
to be given honorary status in order to receive emails after leaving UoB.
Redeployment and e-recruit
Working Party discussed this and had a short demo of the redeployment pool
system. Importantly, it turns out that (currently) you need to create multiple
profiles if you, for example, want to tick more than one of the ‘pathway 1’,
‘pathway 2’ and ‘support staff’ boxes. If you have multiple boxes ticked, it would
not fit job profiles that have only one of these indicated and you would not be
offered jobs. This is far from ideal. It should be made clear to people, and ideally,
the responsible HR people should take this into account. Perhaps the system
should be changed so that you cannot tick more than one box.
(Alice S. clarifies that the top of the form contains things where you can tick
multiple boxes, such as ‘areas’, but the bottom of the form contains several items
where you should only tick one. If you are flexible, you may need about a dozen
The current matching process is something that still being and needs to be
worked on. Matching is in the hands of HR; HR should communicate with the
person(s) advertising the job and more checks are needed. There are 60-70
people in the redeployment pool at any one time across UoB, so it should be
possible for HR to check more individually. Experience has shown that people
can get offered completely inappropriate jobs, so how often does it occur that they
don’t get appropriate jobs offered?
The redeployment system doesn’t stop you from signing up before your
redundancy notice period, but you are not entitled to jobs through redeployment
until then. (You can still apply of course, just not through redeployment.)
Not applying for a job that is offered to you should not affect redundancy,
especially if you indicate that the job is inappropriate, but not sure about
employment law on this point. Anna M. relates a case of someone who didn’t
want to apply to a full-time job (for child-care reasons) was told she would not get
redundancy. See also next agenda point.
Contract renewals (and redundancy)
Many RS staff do not know when they will be made redundant or when their
contract is renewed. Some people get a letter announcing redundancy or contract
renewal (on time), others don’t. Often no information is sent out for short
extensions. The problems here can lie at multiple levels of communication within
UoB (Departments / PIs, HR, Finance).
Redundancy letters should be sent before the redundancy notice period (3
months if you’ve worked at the university for less than 5 years). The system in HR
should automatically trigger this a month before, but Julie points out that this may
not be enough for open-ended contracts, as these require more formal
procedures (e.g. 2 meetings with line manager).
Please send any specific cases you can find regarding redundancy and contract
renewal notices to the Working Party (Julie Etches) before they next meet (22 nd
May). Cases should ideally be less than a year old. Cases will be kept generic,
but it will be good if specific cases can be traced (e.g. by name) afterwards.
It would be great if RS could themselves see exactly when current funding runs
out, e.g. through PIMS.
The Social and Community Medicine intranet has some useful information about
redundancy and related issues. It would be good if we can put something similar
on the RS website: a clear, simplified guide on redundancy and what (should)
happen around it, also mentioning the redeployment pool.
Julie E will try to draft something, Lin Bigwood is happy to help (at least send the
information from the Social and Community Medicine intranet).
Christine Smart: UoB open access
Christine Smart, from Library Services, was asked to manage UoB transition to
Open Access (as required by RCUK for research they fund from April 1st 2013).
She explains what this is all about, and we have a discussion afterwards which
gives her some useful feedback.
Any other business: Teaching requirements for research staff
Teaching ‘requirements’ for RS are different in different schools/departments.
Some RS would like to do some teaching but are not allowed to, others are
expected/told to do teaching but don’t really want to.
Some contracts (often open-ended) may state that staff can be asked to do up to
6 hours of teaching. But several research councils do not allow research staff
paid through their grants to be expected to do teaching as part of their job.
RS, especially research assistants and associates, should never be forced to do
teaching, it should always be voluntary. Conversely, if RS want to do teaching (to
get relevant experience) and there is a reasonable opportunity, they should be
allowed to.
The issue of forced/expected teaching may become particularly relevant in the
near future, as the University wants more students, but doesn’t have enough
teaching staff to support them. The risk is that RS will be used more heavily, and
the additional risk may be that there will be less (teaching) lecturer jobs!
Not long ago, there was a proposal for UPaRC (University Planning and
Resources Committee) to standardize payment for those doing timetabled
teaching such as lectures and tutorials. The proposal was pulled (perhaps
because paying RS staff extra for teaching is a problem for HR/Finance).
All RS Reps should try to ask RS in their department the following (with teaching
defined as timetabled activities such as lectures, labs, workshops and tutorials, or
as being registered as supervisor for project students):
1) Are you doing any teaching?
2) Are you expected to or prevented from doing teaching?
If RS Reps can get information on the department guidelines regarding using RS
for teaching, please do so (e.g. by contacting your Head of Department).
All relevant information gathered should be sent to the Working Party.