Why did it take so long to get through to our clearing hotline?

QUESTION:
I’m on one of the faculty clearing lines, there are few calls coming in, its really quiet.
When I rang our 0800 number, I was on hold for almost two minutes, being told “we are experiencing a high call volume, please hold” and I had that message 4 times.
When I rang Wolverhampton Uni the call was answered in 1 ring, Derby within 10 seconds. Why do we take almost 2 mins when all the operators are free?

 
ANSWER:
This year’s Clearing hotlines were set up to enable us to manage the expected weight of calls based on last years experience.
This proved to be appropriate for the 1st day of clearing. Early on friday morning, it became clear that the volume of calls was reducing significantly, and the system set up would no longer be suitable.
This was noticed by a number of members of staff in the clearing centre, an immediate response from IS staff enabled the telecoms system to be reset very quickly.
An additional phone number was also advertised on our website and elsewhere, so that mobile phone callers had more options to contact us.
The whole clearing operation relies on effective teamwork and problems like this are therefore resolved very quickly.

 

Is a new entrance being added to Leek Road?

QUESTION:
I recently asked about what the diggers were doing along Leek Road behind the old wooden hut (ex church). I was told landscaping, but from looking at these works it looks like there is some sort of road being made? Concrete seems to be going into the ground. If so, is there going to be an extra entrance onto Leek Road?

 

ANSWER:
The landscaping works which have commenced on our Leek Road campus incorporate changes to both soft and hard landscaping to improve the appearance and function of the external areas for students,visitors and staff.  It does not include an extra entrance onto Leek Road.

What is the university’s policy on flexi time?

QUESTION:
Is there a staffs university policy for flexi time and if so could you send the link?

Do all Services/Faculties get the same entitlements or is it up to each department?

Thanks

 

ANSWER:
Although the University does not have a single flexible working policy it does operate a flexi time system in certain areas of the University where this is deemed appropriate. The underpinning principles of a flexi time system are consistent across the University, however, there may be local level differences e.g. core hours may vary by area, depending on the needs of the Faculty or Service.

Please contact a member of Personnel Services if you wish to discuss your particular circumstance in more detail and we can advise on if a scheme is working in your area and if not, how you may go about asking for this to be considered.

Why is there a distinction between ages for severance?

QUESTION:
A few years ago the University engaged in a very welcome move to abolish age discrimination, however I note with interest that one significant discriminatory provision remains, regarding managed severance. There appears to be a distinction between employees aged under 40 and those 40 + in the amount payable according to years of service , I would hope that the rates would be equalised prior to any severance being offered in the future.

 

ANSWER:
The University is committed to equality of opportunity for all staff and would not knowingly discriminate on any grounds.

The paragraph in the managed severance scheme to which you are referring relates to the calculation of the lump sum payment for staff applying for managed severance. The calculation for the lump sum payment which is essentially a redundancy payment is based on the Government’s regulations for the calculation of statutory redundancy payments.

The Government has retained the age-related bandings for statutory redundancy pay and this is currently excluded from age discrimination legislation.

Why is there digging going on at Leek Road?

QUESTION:
Can I ask what is going on along Leek Road, sort of behind the old wooden hut/church. There is a lot of activity and digging going on.

 

ANSWER:
The works which have just commenced on our Leek Road campus is the initial phase of the major landscaping project which we are implementing to improve the external areas of both Leek Road and College Road by September 2013.

University Plan 2012-2017 – Where are the implementation Plans?

QUESTION:
During the presentations of the University Plan it was stated that there would be a series of implementation plans (12 or 13 I think).

Please provide the following

1. The titles of each of these plans.

2. The web links to these plans.

3. For any plans that are not yet available – the name of the person writing them and the date when they will be available.

 
ANSWER:
A total of thirteen implementation plans have been identified to enable the University to deliver the new Plan. The table below lists the plans, the Executive responsibility and the Board of Governors’ Committee which will endorse and maintain strategic oversight of their delivery.

AREA EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITY BOARD OF GOVERNORS’ COMMITTEE
Estates Finance Director Estates and Infrastructure
Information Services Finance Director Estates and Infrastructure
Finance Finance Director Estates and Infrastructure
Environmental Finance Director Estates and Infrastructure
Academic:

  1. Learning and Teaching
  2. Research
Executive Pro Vice-Chancellor Education
Human Resources and Organisational Development Director of Human Resources Employment and Finance
Student Experience Director of Human Resources Education
International Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
UK Partnerships Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
Working with Business Deputy Vice-Chancellor Employment and Finance
Recruitment Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
Reputation Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education
Social Corporate Responsibility Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education

 

There are plans to post these on the website once all have been endorsed.

Will we launch an advertising campaign to rival Derby University’s?

QUESTION:
I’ve noticed a huge billboard advertisement on the A500 just before the junction for our University advertising Derby University (lots of TV coverage too).

Is Staffordshire University planning an advertising campaign to counter this in our local area?

 

ANSWER:
There are a number of universities within the region at present that have high profile advertising campaigns, notably Derby University, Birmingham University and Birmingham City University – using a combination of prominent outdoor posters and television commercials.

We can clearly see that Derby University is keen to try and attract students from our region – this kind of local competition is common, for example East Midlands is very competitive with the Nottingham, Leicester and Loughborough HE institutions trying to attract ‘local’ students.

Although they undertook the same strategy last year, our research shows very few of our local students choose Derby University as a consequence of their advertising. Nevertheless it is important that we maintain and grow our awareness, with publicity being a key aspect of this.

Therefore, current campaigns that are underway include:
‘ There’s still time to take your place in 2012’ – This is a campaign dedicated to getting out the message that we’ve extended our ‘clearing’ activity to five weeks instead of two, with university investment in radio, digital and press publicity.

Staffordshire Graduate – A digital, press and outdoor campaign will commence in late September/October 2012, with television opportunities being assessed.

New Science Centre launch – An exciting PR & outdoor campaign is being organised to take place between October – December

If you would like any more information or to make a suggestion for future campaigns, please email marketingandpublicrelations@staffs.ac.uk

Why doesn’t the university support Armed Forces Day?

QUESTION:

I would like to ask the Executive Team the following:

I have noticed that under the Equality and Diversity Scheme, no mention was made of the Armed Forces Day/week in June 2012. As we have many students from and collaboration with the services – I wondered if this was an oversight or a political decision? Many other groups and communities of the public seem to get a mention but our Armed Forces always seem to be forgotten.

Additionally, I have found that the University does not usually advertise Armistice Day on 11th November (except for a small mention of a church service) and last year there was not a single poppy on sale within the University, that I could find.

Perhaps many people don’t like to be reminded of conflicts around the world and indeed, not all agree with them, myself included. However, as an ex British service person I certainly would not mind sharing a celebration day with any other servicemen or women from around the globe whether they are classed as friend or foe. After all, anyone who chooses to serve their country are patriotic and proud.

I know there is a political issue here, but shouldn’t we be embracing every member of the community? Patriotism is not a crime in any country that I know of.

Many thanks.

 

ANSWER:

The University is currently reviewing the annual calendar of events that the University participates in, to ensure we support and acknowledge activities important to the university, the students and the region, as well as supporting National and International causes and events.

Armed Forces Day/Week is a relatively new celebration that the UK has committed to – strengthened this year with the Jubilee. We will therefore ensure that we support these dates in future. In terms of Armistice, we will continue our remembrance and will look at where the University is represented at the services that take place within the region. We will work with Students Union on the sale of Poppies.

Of note, Michael Gunn earlier in the year, attended the National Memorial Arboretum to take part in the signing of a local Armed Forces Community Covenant. The Covenant was instigated by Staffordshire County Council to bring together a commitment of local organisations for the purpose of encouraging support for the Armed Forces community that works and lives in Staffordshire.

Why can’t staff claim for taking passengers on business journeys?

QUESTION:
Please advise why we cannot claim for taking passengers on journeys!
In the light of the limited parking at this years’ graduation ceremony I thought it would help by offering to take colleagues (and thus going out of my way to get them back to RSH at the end of the day) assuming there would be some allowance for the additional impact having 4 passengers has on the function & fuel consumption of my vehicle.

Apparently this is not the case –is there no incentive to car share – surely this fails to meet the ‘green’ ideals!

Won’t be offering again! We will take 5 cars next time – at what cost to the university.

 
ANSWER:
The mileage rates payable are intended to cover the costs incurred by the member of staff in using their own vehicle. Where additional mileage is incurred in picking up or dropping off passengers associated with business travel, then the additional mileage is claimable at the applicable rate.

Will there be a pricing review for the university sport centres?

QUESTION:
I pay a monthly membership at Beaconside Sports Centre. This costs £25 per month.

Is there any chance of there being a pricing review as I feel this is quite expensive?

I have previously had memberships for Pure Gym (£10.99 p/m for 12 months then £17.99 p/m) and Fitness First (£14.99 per month). Both are significantly cheaper than Beaconside Sports Centre, still offer all exercise classes as part of the membership and have more equipment.

Alternatively, could there be a membership offer that does not include classes? Due to the time of the classes I cannot attend them. Perhaps there could be a discounted membership for ‘Gym Only’ passes?

 

ANSWER:
Sports centres are pleased to announce that they will be offering their customers a new great value flexible membership from the 1st September. No more fixed term memberships dictated by us.

Based on the one month membership and in recognition of customers individual lifestyles, we are offering a unique ‘decide your own duration’ membership. The more months you purchase the greater the discount you will receive.

This great new package means a simple pricing structure to suit you.

More details will be advertised during August.