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Frequently asked questions

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What changes are being proposed, and which teams will be affected?

Cohort 3 proposes consistent structures, job titles and job descriptions across different areas. The key principle is to work as a single Professional Services team across Schools, Faculties, and central Directorates. 

The proposed new structure will make it easier to understand who does what and provide clearer pathways for career progression. ​ Everyone will have accessto targeted training and development support, form networks with colleagues in similar roles, share and develop best practice, and solve problems collectively. It will also reduce the need to use fixed term contacts to fill short-term demands. 

The design involves an overall increase in the number of roles and an upwards shift in grades. All roles are permanent, though a small number of colleagues will remain on fixed term contracts(for example to cover parental leave).​ 

Cohort 3 proposes changes to organisational structures and job descriptions for colleagues currently working at grades 3 to 7 in the International Programmes Office and at grades 2 to 5 in these areas: 

  • Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (TLSE) teams in Schools and Faculties 
  • Directorate for the Student Experience (DSE) Divisions of: 
  • Campus Life 
  • Student and Academic Services 
  • PGR PS staff within Schools, Faculties and the central Directorate for Research and Business Engagement 

All the Cohort 3 proposals are aligned to the new management structures introduced through Cohort 2

How were the numbers of staff in each area determined? Will staffing levels change in future?

SEP is led by student experience leaders from across our Schools, Faculties and central Directorates – ensuring all affected areas are represented. You can find out more about who is leading and delivering the programme, and what has been achieved so far, on our ‘about’ page

The design is driven by a wide range of volume metrics and qualitative assessment, including: 

  • Student numbers based on the most recent three-year averages 
  • Metrics such as number of course units, number of enrolments on course units, and number of assessments on gradebook 
  • Complexity of operational delivery 
  • New internal and external initiative and requirements 
  • New technology and processes (e.g.Programme Enrolment and Activity Management functionality in the new Campus Solutions) 
  • Existing governance and structure i.e. looking at the number of staff on each grade within the existing school TLSE teams.

Using the above as a starting point we looked at other factors to determine individual School’s requirements and additional resource has been included as appropriate. For example:

  • Fitness to Practise activity will sit in the assessment and progression team as appropriate.
  • Appeals and complaints do not currently sit within some assessment and progression teams. As a result, additional resource has been planned to manage this sizeable activity.
  • Recognition of significant academic liaison and committee servicing requirements.
  • Some additional resource to support liaison for clinical specialist units where unit lead/teaching staff are honorary or have a split NHS/UoM contract.
  • Also included is resource for particular activities within the curriculum and programme team, including accreditation, timetabling, placements, LEAP, OBL, MEC/BMaP etc.

When it comes to school based specialist / non-standard roles, these were considered separately with representatives from all Faculties plus DSE. Following investigations across each school the proposed specialist resource was shared and agreed with school SE Leaders.

Resourcing levels will be continually reviewed by ‘Management Groups’ of grade 6/7 managers and leaders in eacharea. As the new structures are consistent, colleagues can move around the organisation to meet changing needs and demands in different areas.  

How will I know if I’m affected by the changes? 

You will be contacted and told that your role is ‘in scope’ – this means it will be directly impacted by the Cohort 3 changes. If you are on a permanent contract, you will be matched to a suitable role in the new structure at the same grade as your current role.

There is no risk of redundancy for any colleagues ‘in scope’ of Cohort 3. Many fixed term roles will be made permanent, and once the initial job matching is finished we expect there to be vacancies. These will be advertised exclusively for Cohort 3 staff (both permanent and fixed term) and redeployees, giving colleagues the opportunity to apply for permanent roles and/or roles at a higher grade. 

What if I’m on a fixed term contract? 

If you are on a fixed term contact and have worked for the University for more than four years, you will be considered in the same way as staff who hold permanent contracts. This is based on a legal presumption in the UK that deems an employee to be permanent if they are on a fixed-term contract and have been continuously employed for four years or more. 

If you are on a fixed term contract but have worked here less than four years, you will be eligible to apply for any remaining roles in the new structure once staff with permanent status have been appointed. These remaining roles will be ring-fenced for you, for anyone else ‘in scope’ of the changes, and for redeployees. 

If you do not secure a permanent role, your contract will continue until the planned end date - as you provide invaluable support in the transition to the new structure. In line with our standard People and Organisational Development policies, you will be eligible to apply for other roles in the University as a redeployee in the four months before the end of your contract. 

What if I’m on secondment?

Throughout this process, you will be considered using your substantive (permanent) role. For example, if your substantive role is grade 4 and you are 'in scope' you will be matched to a new role at a grade 4 in the new structure. At the end of your secondment, you will begin this new role. 

After the initial population of the structure has concluded, you will also be able to apply for any of the remaining vacantroles if you wish. These will be ring-fenced for you, for anyone else in scope of the changes, and for redeployees. 

If I work part-time or have a particular working pattern, can I keep this?

Yes – anything that has already been agreed as part of the terms and conditions of your employment will remain the same. 

Will there be any changes to my employment terms and conditions?

No. Colleagues who are matched to a role in the new structure will be issued with a letter of confirmation. All other employment terms and conditions will remain the same. 

Will I have to move teams? How will that decision be made?

In the proposed new structures, there are multiple roles across different teams with the same job description. Once colleagues in scope are matched to a role that fits their current grade, experience and skills (e.g. Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator), they will then be assigned to an area of the University (e.g. School of Engineering). It is likely that you will find out the role that you have been matched to first, and the area you have been assigned to will be shared later.

These decisions will aim to provide the best balance of experience across the University. This may involve some colleagues moving to a different area and others remaining where they are. The aim is to have the right people in the right places, whilst maintaining business continuity and minimising disruption. Anyone who is required to move teams will be supported throughout that transition.

Assignments will be continually reviewed by ‘Management Groups’ of grade 6/7 managers and leaders in each area. You may be reassigned to a different area of the University in the future, to meet changing needs and demands. Decisions regarding assignments will be made by these Management Groups and approved by Student Experience Leaders.

Where will my role sit within these new structures?

In all cases, this is still to be determined, colleagues have not yet been matched to roles and assignments have not been made. This will happen once the colleague consultation comes to an end. There may be the temptation for colleagues who work particular hours to look at some of the fractional FTE numbers quoted on the structures and assume that this might be their role – this is not necessarily the case, and colleagues should avoid making this assumption.

What if I have a question about my role or assignment, or I don’t like it? Can I appeal?

You will have an opportunity to discuss your role and assignment during the process with your line manager or local People and OD Partner. 

Due to the large number of colleagues in scope (over 800) and the complexity of the role matching and assignment process, you will not be able to appeal these decisions. Having an appeals process could lengthen the matching process to many months, leaving all affected colleagues in limbo during a very stressful and uncertain time. We don’t think this is an ideal or fair solution for everyone involved. This approach is consistent with the assignment process used previously in Cohort 2. 

However, you will be able to apply for any alternative roles that are still vacant once the matching and assignment process has finished. 

After the matching process finishes, how can I apply for any remaining vacancies?

Once all ‘in scope’ staff have been matched to a role in the new structure, remaining vacancies will be advertised and ‘ring fenced’ so only staffimpacted by Cohort 3changes and redeployees can apply.  

Even staff who are already matched to a role in the new structure may apply for any vacancies, including those at higher grade. This is also the opportunity for staff on fixed term contracts to apply for any remaining permanent vacancies. 

The application process will be the same as in Cohort 2 – posts will be advertised on the SEP website, and staff ‘in scope’ of Cohort 3 will be able to apply via an Expression of Interest (EOI) form.   

How and when will the new structures be implemented?

The implementation phase of SEP is being led by managers from across the impacted areas and Student Experience Leaders. The SEP team will support this process by offering expertise and advice, but overall responsibility is with your managers and leaders. 

We anticipate Cohort 3 structures being implemented from late 2022 or early 2023. Exact decisions on timelines will be taken by Management Groups and Student Experience Leaders, but the intention is to get the structures in place as soon as is practical. 

How can I take part in the consultation?

After the announcement of the Cohort 3 proposals, there is a 4-6 week consultation period where impacted colleagues are welcome to raise any questions or suggestions about the proposals. Find out more about the consultation period

Unfortunately it is not always possible for all feedback to be incorporated into the design – for example, where feedback from different groups suggests different approaches or where ideas for individual areas could not work as part of the overall design. Please note that the overall team structure design was part of the consultation for Cohort 2, therefore this will not change. 

Why is SEP needed?

There has been an increase in demand and expectation onour student-facing services, creating frustrations and issues for both students and staff. To address these issues and provide excellent services to students, we need to change our structures, technology and ways of working. You can find out more about why we need to change and the benefits we aim to deliver through SEP on our ‘about’ page

What opportunities have students had to engage with SEP?

  • Proposals have been developed collectively by our student experience leaders, who manage student-facing teams that serve and engage with current taught students and researchers. 
  • We have used insight from sector-wide student experience surveys (like the National Student Survey and Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey)and local University surveys (including Course Unit Surveys and the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey). 
  • Our Market and Student Insight Team produce regular reports that tap into the mindset of current and prospective students, informed by primary and secondary research. 
  • The Programme team has engaged with students and student representatives directly at various points: workshops during the Programme’s initial scoping exercise; focus groups in summer 2021, with a mix of student representatives across years, Schools, Faculties, and programmes; recruiting students to work on the programme immediately after graduating; employing current students on a partnership basis to input to the programme. 
  • The General Secretary of the Students’ Union sits on the SEP Board. 

The SEP team, SE Leaders, and SE Managers are committed to further engaging with students and researchers going forward. We will continue to shape the delivery and implementation through this combination of University-led engagement and SEP-led engagement. 

What opportunities have staff had to engage with SEP?

  • Early 2020 – Engagement on very early stages of design, with PS managers and academics. 
  • Spring 2021 – Engagement on high-level structural design for Cohorts 2 and 3, with colleagues across the University. 
  • July 2021 – Collective consultation on Cohort 2 proposals, with trade unions and impacted staff (some amendments made to roles and structures following this consultation). 
  • 2021/22: Working groups of PS leaders and managers developing Cohort 3 structures, sharing with Academic Advisory Groups for feedback.

Have you done an Equality Impact Assessment for these changes?

An Equality Impact Assessment and a Wellbeing Assessment have been completed for the Cohort 3 proposals and change process. You can find this on the SEP website

This Equality Impact assessment will be reviewed through various stages of the project - the same approach as in SEP Cohort 1 and Cohort 2.