Are there plans to refurbish the toilets in Flaxman?

Question:

Following the refurbishment of the stairwells in the Flaxman Building, are there any plans to give the toilets an overhaul? 

They are very unpleasant.  I notice that toilets in other buildings have recently been retiled and painted (e.g. the Beacon Building ground floor) which by comparison were in far better condition to begin with.  Considering the Flaxman toilets are used most nights by external customers attending the Film Theatre it hardly creates a good impression of the University’s facilities.

Answer:

We are about to introduce a Planned Maintenance Programme throughout the University estate and these toilets will be decorated/upgraded as part of those works.

The timing will depend upon the funding that the University can afford and therefore it may be some time before work is undertaken.

Can we revisit why paydays are always on a Wednesday?

Question:

Good afternoon,

I am a new member of staff and wondered why salaries are paid on a Wednesday.  I searched previous questions and found the same question asked previously.

In the response it was stated that moving to fixed date would delay payments if pay day fell on a non BACS processing day.  I wondered if you might look at this again.  I have worked at several organisations with a specified date for payday.  In the event that the date falls on a weekend or bank holiday etc, payments are made on the last working day before.  This did make life (in financial regards) much easier.

Many Thanks.

Answer:

Thank you for your recent question regarding the timing of payday.

When the original question came in we did consider whether it would be sensible to look again at the timing of our payday. We did this but we felt on balance, that the last Wednesday of each month gave people more financial certainty about the day they would be paid as it would always avoid public holidays and be a fixed point in a month that people would readily remember.

Moving to a specified date rather than a specified day of the month would have the added complication of a possible public holiday to navigate.

Are there plans to improve the parking situation at Blackheath Lane?

Question:

Staff at Blackheath Lane have raised concerns for sometime over parents dropping off pupils who attend Weston Road School, which has lead to a number of very near misses.  On a daily basis, in term time, pupils being dropped off on the car park can be seen walking across the entry point of the car park with very little awareness of cars being driven on to the car park by University staff or other parents dropping pupils off.

Increased numbers of students has put increasing pressure on the car park, and this is not helped by the number of Sixth Form students from Weston Road who use the car park as the school does not allow them to use theirs. 

Although a barrier was installed a few years ago this is a manually operated one, and is very rarely staffed.

Are the plans referred to in the previous message regarding car parking going to extend to Blackheath Lane, and when can we expect some action?

Answer:

We are reviewing the parking issues at Blackheath Lane and have recently monitored the use of the car park by parents from the School.Only three cars checked in a two hour period were school related.

Installing a barrier is more complicated here than on our other sites because of the short driveway off Blackheath Lane but we are looking at options that will prevent unauthorised use but not cause traffic to back up into the highway.

Are there plans to fix the chairlift in the Thompson library?

Question:

After discussing with my colleagues regarding the broken chairlift along the 2nd floor of the Thompson library, I am wondering whether there are plans to fix this?

I am a new member of staff and commented on how good access was to the library until I was told that that particular chairlift was not working and has been broken for a while. While I am not disabled, I am concerned at seeing a member of staff using the stairs with walking sticks, and worry about wheelchair users, students and staff, who may have to go back to the ground floor and around the building, using the elevator to access the 2nd floor.

Answer:

Thank you for letting us know about this situation.  Unfortunately, we had not received any information that the chairlift was faulty, but as a result of your question, we have now arranged for our lift specialist to attend the site today and rectify the problem.

Should we be encouraging our visitors to use public transport?

Question:
With regards to the previous question ‘Can the website have campus postcodes added for Sat Navs?’ – should we instead be encouraging our visitors to use public transport?

Answer:
Whilst not applicable to all visitors, the university should encourage, where possible, external visitors to arrive by public transport.  Our Stoke campus could not be better placed for arrival by rail .

To encourage more sustainable travel by visitors, the order of transport modes was recently amended on the Finding Us pages to give priority to more sustainable modes of travel. Asides from the obvious environmental benefits of arriving by sustainable transport; visitors would not require parking, thus helping alleviate the pressure on our car parks.

Can we have a dedicated expressing room in Stafford?

Question:

Having just read this (Is a staff common room in the Octagon possible? – Mon, 17 Jan 2011) might I suggest an expressing room too?

Although this will no doubt not be possible in the immediate future, I (and others at Stafford)  would appreciate a closer and specific area designated for expressing. At the moment we are having to use the onsite nursery for expressing. This is not ideal, we are using their staff room, without a lock. It means their staff can’t get access to their tea making facilities/ bags etc whilst we are expressing.

I have been down on one occasion where staff have not read the don’t disturb notice and entered the room whilst I have been expressing.

We have no way of knowing when the  room is already in use – which can lead to people going down to express and not being able to use the room (not happened yet but bound to as more women utilise the room – already two of us using the facilities). Obviously the less time walking to/ from the expressing room (especially if it is busy) means less time out of our working day – and means we wouldn’t need to take as much time to express.

Answer:

With all the current pressure that the H.E. sector and therefore this University is under to reduce costs by becoming more efficient, it is unlikely that we could provide space for this function when we have not done so in previous years.

We will need to ensure that, in the future, the space that we occupy is primarily focussed on the function of delivering our academic provision even if this is at the expense of other accommodation.

What plans are there to address the car park problems at leek Road?

Question:

I am aware that on a number of occasions over many years, issues related to parking and safety at Leek Road  have been mentioned in various committee minutes and I would be interested to know if there any plans to address the current crisis.

To be more specific, I’d be grateful to know of any plans:

To improve the safety of pedestrians (given the parking on pavements etc);

To improve the parking for disabled people (given these spaces are often occupied by cars without displaying the necessary badge);

To reduce the number of cars parked whose owners are not on University business (as the barrier system for monitoring is far from robust).

Answer:

The current situation is clearly unacceptable and is caused by inappropriate behaviour which results in increased risks to users of our facilities.

We are reviewing a number of alternatives for taking enforcement action against those motorists who park inappropriately and this will ensure that disabled bays will only be used by those with badges,the roadways will be clear of parked cars.

The barrier that was installed at the entrance of the site prevents unauthorised use of our car parks.

Can the website have campus postcodes added for Sat Navs?

Question:

Whenever I organise external visitors to the University, I am often asked to supply a postcode for their Satnavs, and on the main page for our directions this is not given.

Please can all the relevant postcodes be added, and I think it would also be great to have a link called “Campus postcodes for your Sat Nav” on the main first page before you go into each campus – thanks

Answer:

Thank you for your suggestion.  This is something that we have been considering for some time and Strategic Marketing are currently in the process of updating all of the campus maps on our website.

As a result of your question, they will also be adding postcodes for Sat Navs to this page once all of the updates have been made.

Thank you!

Does the University match funds for charity fundraising?

Question:

Goodmorning,

The staff in the Business School Office are hoping to do the ‘walk for life’ at Trentham Gardens in June. Will the University  match the funds raised by the staff as some other organisations do?

Regards.

Answer:

We are currently working on the University’s Charity Fundraising Plan to determine which charities we will support and our approach to charity fundraising activities in general.

Details of this will be publicised when final but please do keep us informed of any known activity in the meantime.

Thanks.

Are there plans to increase International fees?

Question:

We all know about the planned increases in UK student fees – will the fees for International students remain as they are or are there plans to increase these ?

Kind regards.

Answer:

We have not yet made any decisions on our future fee levels but significant planning is taking place  to look at different options. It is unlikely that we will announce our UK fee levels for 2012/13 until early summer.

International fees are reviewed on an annual basis and the review for 2012/13 will take place over the summer.

Thanks.