How might the Estates strategy impact on staff?

QUESTION:
I note the recent ask executive questions related to the future of the Stafford site e.g. in the light of the Stafford Hospital announcements.

If the decision is made in due course to close the Stafford site, what would be the effect on staff whose normal work base is Stafford? Would they have to accept the move to Stoke or would there e.g. be the option of applying for Managed Severance?

 
ANSWER:
There has been no decisions on the estates strategy consultation as yet. These will be due in January 2014. The current consultation with staff and stakeholders will need to ensure that whatever long term decisions are made about the University’s estate, they are appropriate for our needs going forward.

In the event of any recommendation to reduce the number of sites, then the University will look to see what activities are performed on the site to be relinquished. If those activities are no longer required, then those roles who support that activity will be at risk of redundancy. In those circumstances we will look to redeploy staff wherever possible, as is our current approach, or seek expressions of interest in voluntary redundancy, before moving to compulsory redundancies.

If the activity and the roles supporting this are still required and will move to a different university site, then individual’s employment will continue. Staff are required to work on any university site, as one of their contractual terms. Change of Base Allowance would be available for those staff who fulfilled the criteria. All these policies are available on the personnel services website.

When will the remaining workstream recommendations be known?

QUESTION:
The next phase of the review of the remaining workstreams is going on, e.g. Academic, Admin and Technical staff.

When will the recommendations be known and implemented and are there likely to be redundancies or offers of early retirements/severances?

 
ANSWER:
Thank you for the question. Workstreams 2, 3 and 4, will shortly be announced to Faculty staff – the final stages of each of the proposals are currently being completed. There will then follow a short period of consultation, and following this, incorporating any amendments we will move to implementation.

We hope to achieve this as speedily as possible to minimise the impact upon staff within those areas. Potential redundancies are not yet known, because this very much depends on the final structures and the impact that this then has on staff. You may well recall that both Michael and Ian said at the all staff roadshows that we would minimise any impact of redundancy wherever we could – for example redeployment opportunities. As with any restructuring process, if an individual wishes to explore the opportunity of severance from the University we will always give this due consideration and in accordance with our procedures.

Workstream five, professional support staff will be reviewed as part of the development of the student systems project which will take place over the next two years – when the first stage is implemented in approx August 2014. This too has been shared recently through all staff roadshows.

 

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.