Can staff make informed decisions around MSS?

QUESTION:

Are senior managers locally in a position to discuss with their teams and individuals if there is a likelihood of their jobs being at risk? In particular there needs to be a fairness of opportunity to make informed decisions, if a member of staff cannot afford to lose their job but would opt for MSS rather than waiting for compulsory redundancy are senior/line managers in a position to be honest with teams – have Executive provided sufficient information to managers to facilitate this?

ANSWER:

Each faculty and service is currently reviewing their costs and identifying proposals to reduce expenditure. Once proposals are formulated these should be discussed with staff.

Will there be another opportunity to apply for MSS?

QUESTION:

Will there be another opportunity for Professional Support Staff to apply for MSS during the Ways of Working consultation or will that be confined to those staff who are ‘at risk’ at that time?

ANSWER:

The MSS will be open to only those staff at risk when the WoW is released for consultation.

Therefore anyone interested in MSS would be best advised to apply now through this current round.

What are the time periods for MSS?

QUESTION:
Please could you tell me the time periods we are looking at regarding the MSS? What is the latest date staff can specify as a proposed leaving date?

ANSWER:
Applications for MSS can be submitted at any time from now until Friday 16 January 2015. The MSS panel will meet regularly until the closing date, meeting one final time after the closing date to consider any remaining applications. Applicants will be informed of the outcome within a week of the MSS panel meeting, and will either be required to work their notice or select a leaving date earlier, waiving the remaining period of notice. A cut-off date for proposed leaving times has not been prescribed.

Could part-time workers still be made redundant?

QUESTION:

If a member of staff requests part-time working could that member of staff still be made redundant at a later date, even though they have helped towards reducing staffing levels. If yes, how would this affect redundancy payments for that member of staff.

ANSWER:

A member of staff who reduces the number of hours worked per week, whilst contributing to the salary savings, is not exempt from being ‘at risk’ of further reductions in staffing levels going forward. If reductions in an area are required then all posts whether full time or part time would be ‘at risk’ of redundancy and would need to be considered in the ‘selection pool’.

Redundancy payments are based on a week’s pay x service and therefore anyone working part time would receive less weekly pay than their full time comparator. Further details on the calculation of redundancy payments are explained in Section 8 of the Organisational Change Policy located on the website.

Is our relationship with Gulf College changing?

QUESTION:

There are rumours about some changes regarding our relationship with our partner Gulf College this week, could you update us on what is happening please? And what is the potential loss of income, as the rumours are of many hundreds of thousands of pounds?

ANSWER:

Gulf College is one of our international partners and as a partner we have invested considerable support into the relationship to ensure that the partnership delivers high quality education to the students. Our staff have, and continue to, spent time in the Gulf to have confidence that the partnership operates safely and securely. Gulf College representatives have also visited us recently. We have become aware that Gulf College is considering whether it wishes to work with other UK HEI providers, but neither Gulf College nor any other UK University have approached us formally in respect of Gulf College’s future aspirations.

In respect of potential loss of income, the University has, for all its activities and not just partnership working, to consider the costs of an activity as well as the income that it generates, and therefore from time–to-time it may be appropriate to either cease or scale back an activity, where it does not make an appropriate contribution. Over recent months the University has been looking at all its existing partnerships, UK and overseas, to ensure that appropriate contributions are being made. An outcome from this work has resulted in changes (increases) to the fees we levy on our partners. The University has also been taking action to ensure that the income owed to us by our partners is paid promptly and in respect of Gulf College, there is work ongoing to ensure that they are up-to-date with payments.

In the event that the University’s partnership with Gulf College comes to an end, the University will seek to ensure that our Gulf Students are supported appropriately.

Will temporary and agency staff be considered in savings?

QUESTION:

My department has a lot of agency and temporary staff at the minute. Will these contracts be terminated to see if a 5% staffing saving could be made before any decisions are made regarding redundancies?

ANSWER:

Faculties and Services will be looking at all aspects of pay and non pay in terms of identifying possible areas for financial savings.

Does 5% equate to £5m?

QUESTION:

The announcement about “A Smarter Future for Staffordshire University” mentions a 5% reduction in staffing and a 5% reduction in non-staffing expenditure. In the radio interview with Michael Gunn he comments that this equates to £5 million pounds, is this £5 million in staffing and another £5 million in non-staffing or £5 million in total?

ANSWER:

The £5m mentioned in the BBC Radio Stoke interview is the total amount we are trying to save and covers both staffing and non-staffing.