Does the University operate Dress Down Fridays?

Question –

There seems to be a view across the university that Friday’s are “dress down” day, but I can’t find any reference to this in any of the university policies. Would it be possible to please clarify the position on this so new starters and existing members of staff are clear on protocol?

Answer –

The University does not operate a dress down policy on Friday’s or indeed any other day. Colleagues should wear clothing that is appropriate for their roles and supports the professional image of the University as an education services business. If any colleague is unsure about whether they are suitably attired for work, they should contact their line manager.

With rises in petrol prices will the travel claim amount be raised?

Question:

With the recent rises in petrol prices will the university be reviewing the current 40p per mile we claim back, as this is to pay towards wear and tear on vehicles as well?

Answer:

In the current climate the University will not be considering an upward increase in the mileage rate staff are able to claim back for travel, however this may be reviewed in the future.

In the spirit of sustainability, will the Uni swith to e-cards next Christmas?

Question:

Seeing as the University is committed to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint I was wondering if there are any plans to send out an electronic christmas card rather than the current ones that we post out?

Answer:

As part of our commitment to reduce the environmental impact the University has through its environmental strategy, this is certainly a viable suggestion for consideration for Christmas 2011. 

Health, Safety and Environmental Unit will liaise with the Design Unit to ensure that any Christmas card production has a minimal environmental impact, with e-cards being the most obvious choice. 

If these were not deemed  sufficient, and traditional cards were printed, the specification will include environmental considerations such as digital printing and minimum orders to reduce wastage, FSC or recycled content paper stock and statements to inform the recipient the card has a lower environment impact through its design and to encourage them to recycle when the card is disposed.

Will part-time staff have a day off in lieu for the royal wedding?

Question:

I understand staff will be granted a day off in view of the above celebration. 

The recent changes to the annual leave policy meant that staff who job shared had ‘equal rights’ to any days off granted ie staff who are contracted to work at the start of the week are no longer granted all of the Bank Holiday Mondays for example, which was deemed unfair to staff working the back end of the week. 

Therefore, as the wedding date falls at the end of the week (not on my working day) will the Executive be granting a day in lieu so that it is fairer to all part time staff? 
 

Answer:

For this Annual Leave year, 2010/11, the University will have twelve closure days for bank holidays and discretionary days rather than eleven.

Employees who work five days per week will be entitled to all twelve days in addition to their annual leave entitlement; those who work less than five days per week will be entitled to a pro-rata share of the twelve days according to the number of days usually worked per week.

If any bank holidays or discretionary days (including the Royal Wedding day) fall on a day on which is usually the individual’s working day, this must be booked from the total allocation of days. If the closure days do not fall on an individual’s normal working day then the day does not have to be booked from the allocation.

Further details are available in the Annual Leave Policy on the website.

Is a swipe-card barrier planned for Blackheath Lane?

Question:

Are there any plans for a swipe-card barrier at Blackheath Lane? 

I have personally seen individuals both yesterday and today, parking up and then walking over to the school. 

Answer:

We are considering installing a barrier with card control, but there are practical difficulties relating to ensuring we do not cause even more traffic problems on Blackheath Lane with cars queing to get through the barrier, as this would be unacceptable to the Highways Agency.

Can visitor parking passes help to ease congestion in our car park?

Question:

I have noticed a number of cars that appear to have been parked over night over the last few days, and I wonder how many of these cars don’t belong to members of staff and students. 

I know from experience that there have been a couple of times where I have been tailgated by a car behind me so they can get through the barrier before it drops, possibly because they don’t have a card.  They know they can get out with no problems as there is no barrier at the exit.

Given the pressure on car parking spaces on the college road car parking would it be worthwhile to issue staffs university stickers that would enable the university to deal with cars that have managed to slip in say when the barrier is up.

I know that doesn’t cover visitor cars, but it would be possible for staff requesting parking for visitors to ask those visitors for their number plate and to pass that along to estates, or for estates to have some visitor cards that could be sent internal mail to the staff requesting the spot.  These could then be given to the visitor and then collected by the staff member and sent back to estates,

Not a perfect solution, but might relieve some of the pressure.

Answer:

We do spot checks of cars parked at night and are satisfied that most are students,either residential or making use of our 24/7 Library Services.

There are some staff who park overnight when they are on business trips away from campus and are travelling by train or other public transport.
Tailgating is possible but we are trying to identify cars that enter this way and then take action.

Issuing stickers could only be to staff and we have significant numbers of students and visitors using our car parks.
Issuing passes for visitors would be impractical in our experience because many academic staff who reserve spaces do not know sufficient detail about visitors,often only approximate numbers,and sending passes through the internal post would be difficult to control.

We are continuing to review car parking to try to improve behaviour by all users for mutual benefit.

Is a staff common room in the Octagon possible?

Question:

I know that space is limited but is there any opportunity for staff to have a common room in the Octagon building as they have in the Beacon building, where staff can have a quiet time over lunch to eat their sandwiches?

Answer:

The University is planning a strategic review of our entire estate to ensure that we can deliver effective and efficient buildings which reflect the needs of our mission.

Currently there are no spare rooms which could be used for a staff common room but we are looking at underutilised rooms and may be in a position to consider other uses such as this at a later date.

We will be creating more “social areas” in our future new and refurbished buildings both in Stoke and Stafford and these should provide the facilities requested as we move forward.

Can the Flaxman lift be permanently fixed?

Question:

One of the lifts in the Flaxman building has stopped working again. This seems to happen on a regular basis, at least once a week at the moment. The lifts are repaired and work for a day or two, only for the same thing to happen again very soon.

It is particularly difficult when transporting heavy equipment from the 6th floor, because once one lift is stuck there it is impossible to summon the other one. It would clearly be impossible for anyone who is infirm or disabled to access the 6th floor offices and teaching rooms.

Can a more permanent repair be envisaged?

Answer:

The lifts in Flaxman are over 20 years old and are included in the planned maintenance programme for replacement within the next five years at a cost of £200k.

The problem causing the recent responsiveness issues is related to the call buttons which would cost £36k to replace on all floors.Due to the short life of the lifts we have a comprehensive maintenance contract with a specialist lift company who are responsive to calls when these are reported to Repair Line.

We are monitoring the downtime of the lifts as a result of these issues and are striving to ensure swift repairs when required.

Can employees receive a discount for dentists and opticians?

Question:

Does the University offer a discounted scheme to employees to cover the cost of dentists and opticians bills?

Answer:

We offer discounted medical cover via our Voluntary Health Care Scheme with Standard Life.  The full details of cover and costs are available on the Personnel Services website.

The Health and Safety Section administers a policy related to the reimbursement of eye tests and if appropriate a contribution towards the prescription for spectacles when using display screen equipment.  Details of this policy are available on the Health and Safety area of our website.

Do children of Staffs Uni staff recieve discounted courses?

Question:

I am sure I heard a while ago that any children of Staffordshire University employees who decide to attend here on a degree course, would receive a discount on their fees.

Can you tell me, is this right or did I dream this?

Answer:

We can confirm that there is currently no discount/fee payer code for children of members of staff.  

The staff discount is only available to members of staff who are on the payroll.