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Student Experience Programme update

27 Jan 2022

Update for colleagues in Professional Services teams

Leader update

Executive Summary

We’re both very pleased to be able to share the following update in relation to the Student Experience Programme (SEP).

To summarise, working in partnership with those colleagues who were in-scope, we were able to avoid any compulsory redundancies as we populated our new management structures as part of Cohort 2 of the Programme. We are also able to announce that in the next stage of the Programme, Cohort 3 - which includes Grade 2-5 colleagues within the areas of Teaching, Learning and Student Experience, PGR and DSE Divisions of Campus Life, TLSD and SAABI, and Grades 2-7 in the DSE International Programmes Office - there will be no risk of redundancy. In addition we will be converting just over half of our current fixed term posts in-scope for SEP to permanent and the previous secondment freeze will be lifted. Going forward, teams will now be able to recruit roles on a permanent basis depending on the business need. We are confident this will end the uncertainty that has been faced by many individuals and provide extra stability in those teams that most need it. More detail of changes to our organisational structures for colleagues in-scope of Cohort 3 including revised job descriptions will be made available in the Spring.

This is all part of our wider work which supports the delivery of Our future, our vision and strategic plan. The investment through SEP is key to driving ongoing colleague growth and further developing how we work together in partnership across the university – they are key pillars of the Our People, Our Values theme plan.

No compulsory redundancy in Cohort 2

Throughout 2021 the Student Experience Programme continued to deliver changes to organisational structures and technology in order to improve University services for both students and staff.

One of the key changes we announced last year involved how Professional Services teams within Teaching, Learning and Student Experience (TLSE), PGR and specific areas within the DSE were organised. The process to complete the management structures and changes for colleagues at Grade 6 and above will come to a conclusion over the coming weeks and months with those colleagues moving to their new roles and teams. It is good to be able to confirm that this has been achieved without the need for compulsory redundancies.

No risk of redundancy – either compulsory or voluntary – for Cohort 3

In addition, since the middle of 2021 we have been developing the organisational structures in these same areas (TLSE, PGR and specific areas within the DSE) for Grade 2-5 colleagues and Grades 2-7 in the International Programmes Office. This work - nearing completion - has been carried out under the guidance of and in partnership with local leaders and managers across the University who know the individual areas and teams well. New strategic requirements, and student number growth, have influenced the size and shape of our new structures. 

As such, ahead of us providing the full details in the spring of how these areas will be structured and sharing revised job descriptions, we are pleased to confirm in advance that there will be no risk of redundancy for colleagues who have permanent status. Colleagues’ roles will change in preparation for us adopting new processes and technology, and the teams/area of the organisation they are assigned to may also change, but there will be a role for all permanent colleagues in the new structures. Detailed plans will be put in place and there will be support available to colleagues to help them adapt as we make these changes. We will also continue to embrace the How we Work Together principles that we shared early last year.

Just over half of fixed term posts will be made permanent – colleagues to be notified by their managers

Currently, a large number of colleagues in teams in scope of SEP are employed on Fixed Term Contracts (FTCs). Colleagues may be holders of FTCs for a variety of reasons, but there is a particularly large number in these teams as we awaited the outcome of the Student Experience Programme and its recommendations, so we were not able to recruit people to permanent positions.

We recognise that - as a result of this - there are concerns about stability for both individuals and the teams that they work with. Now that we have greater understanding of our new structures at Grades 2-5, we are in a position to end that uncertainty for a large number of colleagues as we will be converting many of our current fixed term posts to permanent posts. 

If you are the holder of a fixed term post within the areas in-scope of these changes you can expect your line manager to discuss this with you to confirm if your post is to be made permanent or not.

Secondment Freeze to be lifted

In May 2021 we announced a temporary freeze on secondments for Professional Services colleagues who would be in-scope of the changes proposed as part of Cohort 2 (and what was subsequently renamed Cohort 3). Effectively this applied to all those colleagues of Grade 2 and above who were in-scope. We’re pleased to be able to confirm that this freeze is lifted with immediate effect, although business requirements will still be considered as part of any individual secondment decision.

Roles can now be recruited on either a fixed term or permanent basis

New vacancies within teams in-scope of the changes can now be recruited on either a fixed term or permanent basis depending on business need, with relevant approval in line with the University Recruitment and Selection processes. This may include current vacancies which should make them easier to recruit to. The conversion to permanency will take place with immediate effect, and provide additional strength and stability in the teams that need it most.

What happens next?

Discussions will be happening locally with local managers to confirm individual’s contractual status. People and OD Partners are also available to support these discussions with line managers and impacted colleagues. The colleagues who are in posts that are being converted to permanent status will receive a letter over the coming days to confirm the change. Colleagues that remain holders of Fixed Term Contracts continue to be important and valued members of our teams. 

We anticipate being able to share the detail of the changes to organisational structures for colleagues in-scope of Cohort 3 including job descriptions in the spring.

There will be an opportunity for colleagues to provide feedback on these proposals and we are hoping to have the new structures fully populated by the end of 2022. We’ll also explain in more detail how colleagues with permanent status will be matched to roles in the new structure and assigned to teams/areas of the organisation. 

In the meantime, colleagues will start to see permanent roles being advertised almost immediately as we look to fill some of our existing vacancies. In addition, as we go through the process of populating our new structures it is extremely likely that we will identify further permanent vacancies that will be advertised, providing additional opportunities for colleagues seeking a permanent role.

If you have questions

We anticipate there will be conversations happening via Student Experience Leaders in your local areas around the changes to contracts, so we would encourage you to direct any questions to them or your local People and OD Partners. In addition we have created a list of Questions and Answers that you may find useful.

Simon Merrywest, Director for the Student Experience, and Patrick Hackett, Registrar, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer