Is working from home allowed leading up to Christmas?

QUESTION:
Am I right in thinking that ‘working from home’ is now not allowed during the two weeks leading up to Christmas?

If so, how will the University ensure that everyone complies and books any days off work as leave?

ANSWER:
There are no restrictions in place regarding ‘working from home’ during the two weeks leading up to Christmas and normal approval protocols apply.

We have explained in an earlier response that we would not anticipate Faculties/Services approving ‘working from home’ on Christmas Eve. Anyone who has not booked leave on this day will be required to attend the University to provide appropriate cover.

When will a freeze on recruitment to admin roles take place?

QUESTION:
We were told at the roadshows about the Student Systems Project, that took place in October, that there would be a freeze on recruitment of permanent staff to admin roles from November.

I note however that there are still permanent jobs being advertised so wondered when this would take effect?

Thank you

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for your question. When we promoted the Student System project we explained that once we moved into the implementation stage of the project then we would put in place a number of safeguards regarding staffing. These will include being flexible, so that we can deploy staff from one area to another based upon work load demands when staff leave, not replacing the post where this is possible, and where the first two are not possible, replacing leavers with staff on fixed term contracts.

This will be put in place from January 2013 when the project moves to its implementation stage.

Why are mature trees being removed from Leek Road?

QUESTION:
With the previous Ask Exec questions about cutting down of trees, I understand that some need to be removed for works being undertaken and will be replaced. However as far as I know the large trees on the hill behind the large AstroTurf pitch (towards Brindley) are not blocking any works, so why on earth are they being removed?

It is such a shame to lose such mature trees, which will doubtless be replaced with very young trees as part of the future landscaping works – at the moment it seems a nice green oasis in the middle of a built up area is being slowly destroyed.

 

ANSWER:
Many of the large trees are in very poor condition so are being replaced as part of the overall scheme but there is also work planned for the area indicated. When the project is finished, the whole of the Leek Road campus will be a much improved environment with safe, wide pedestrian routes and lots of green spaces.

Which suppliers can staff use to obtain a discount on computing equipment?

QUESTION:
I note with interest the information (in Will the university be taking part in the computing scheme?), and whilst not aware of the scheme mentioned am aware for example that Apple products can be purchased direct from Apple by staff and students with an educational discount.

Could the University perhaps publicise recommended suppliers of such products (Mac and PC) that staff of the institution could use to obtain equipment at discount rates?

 
ANSWER:
The University contracts with Phoenix Computers for all PC purchases. They offer staff and students the opportunity to purchase from them and give the same level of discount available to the University.

You can visit their website for more information or view their space on the university website. 

Apple computers are supplied by the Apple Centre in Warrington, however they do not have a specific staff discount scheme.

Are Christmas angel decorations banned on campus?

QUESTION:
I would like to Ask Exec if there is an official position regarding appropriate Christmas decorations?

There is a disruptive rumour doing the rounds that staff are not permitted to use angels to decorate Christmas trees in offices and foyers around the University. On the surface it may seem very daft or petty, but it also has the potential to cause a lot of serious upset.

I suspect this may be at best a simple misunderstanding; hopefully not someone with an axe to grind causing mischief.

Could we please cut through the rumour mill and get an official clarification on the position?

Thanks.

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for your query regarding Christmas decorations.
The University doesn’t have a formal policy regarding Christmas decorations but allows staff and students to decorate their areas of work in a way that is appropriate for any particular religious or cultural festival. For Christmas this would of course include angels.
Happy Christmas!

Will the university be taking part in the computing scheme?

QUESTION:
Will the university be taking part in http://www.computingscheme.co.uk/

This is an excellent scheme that operates on a similar basis to the cycle scheme and as such the university incurs no cost for taking part.

Thanks.

 
ANSWER:
Although similar in nature, the computing scheme is significantly different to the cycle scheme. By using the cycle scheme, the employee will save around 32% on the purchase price through a combination of tax and NI savings. The University also makes a small NI saving which helps offset the cost of administering the scheme and providing the initial loan to purchase the cycle.

Under the computing scheme , the employee will make only make an NI saving of between 2% and 12%. This is also partially offset by the administration and delivery charges levied by the scheme supplier. The University does not make any savings and has the costs of both administering the scheme and providing the initial loans to purchase the equipment.

The university is therefore not intending to take part in the scheme at this time but will keep this decision under review if there are changes to the potential benefits.