Meetings and Events Update, 22 March 2017

From now on, we will be sending you regular email keeping you up to date on our local activities. On this website, you will find the details for each item. Please feel free to get in touch with us (ucu.brookes@gmail.com or any one of us) if you have any comments or questions!

 

Alan Reeve (Chair) and Jeff Waistell (Branch Secretary) attended the Workload Planning Review Group held on February 15thThe following issues were discussed:

Tariff for Collaboration Managers

Management noted that the current tariff already offered flexibility so it was agreed to leave the tariff unchanged for the coming year.

Number of direct reports in OBI

A review was taking place which was looking at wider structural issues.  It was planned that this would be discussed with SMT in March.

Review of line management of Technicians

Ben Cooper reported that he and Astrid had met with Helen Packer to discuss the matter.  The Faculty was mindful that there were some activities that needed to be reviewed, such as academics having to spend time ordering equipment, but it was also evident there were still some misunderstandings about some matters.  There was no support for changing the line management structure from the Head of Department.  It was agreed that reporting lines and local operational arrangements were not a matter for the WLP Review Group, and it should be dealt with outside this committee.

Quadruple modules

It was noted that TDE was the only faculty to have such modules and there was already an additional line in the TDE tariffs to address Studio and Design-based teaching where these modules arose.

OBBS 2017 / 2018 WLP tariff

Andrew Halford confirmed that reference to the full range of University WLP tariffs would be made in the OBBS workload plan when published in May.

Marketing work in HSS

Jeff Waistell raised a concern that academics in HSS appeared to be being asked to take on the work of the Marketing Team by being asked to do things such as blogs, social media updates and produce leaflets.  Jeff was advised to raise this with management outside the meeting.

UCU WLP survey update

UCU had made a number of changes to the report of the survey that they had run, including: identifying what questions had been asked; including charts detailing the proportion of respondents; adding the raw data, plus minor linguistic changes.

Management noted that the financial implications of the recommendations were potentially significant and said that they could not support the recommendations for changes to the WLP on the basis of the survey.

RAM

UCU asked about proposed changes to the Resource Allocation Model (RAM). It was noted that a paper from Finance on this had recently been considered by Executive Board.  Management explained that the process was likely to evolve over the next couple of years with income and expenditure being better aligned with activity. Jeff asked if this would mean that the University would increase the number of teaching-only contracts.  Management said Stern’s suggestion to include all research-active staff in the next REF had prompted discussion at some HEIs about making greater use of teaching-only contracts. This was not favoured by Brookes and management would be reflecting this in their response to the REF consultation in March.

WLP framework for 2017/2018

 It was noted that a number of significant changes had been made in recent years.  It had been agreed that a working group would review the role profiles for Programme Leads, Subject Coordinators, PLSEs and Research Leads. A project to replace the workload planning data base was in prospect and this would provide better data on which to base decision.

Management stated that no changes to the WLP framework would be recommended for 2017-18 but that the UCU survey report would be attached to the report to Executive Board.

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Maïa Pal, one of our HSS Faculty Reps, attended a meeting on Feb 22nd with the Faculty Exec. This was a useful meeting, mostly to discuss the move to Harcourt, but also the move of the Business School to Headington. Discussions concerning the WLP were left for the WLP faculty meeting which took place Monday 27 February. Maïa was unfortunately not invited in time for that meeting, and it was scheduled during some of her teaching hours, but she hopes to get more information about those discussions to you once the minutes emerge.

We need to know more from HSS members regarding what your top one or two priority issues would be if you had to choose (research time, nursery, student/staff ratio, transport, offices, etc.). Please send your requests directly to Maïa (mpal@brookes.ac.uk).  

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Sola Adesola, our Equality Officer, attended various meetings and events in order to raise awareness of equality and give greater visibility to UCU’s work on this front.

She attended the UCU Equality Reps Conference in London on Feb 17th and went through a two-day UCU Equality Officers Training on March 8th-9th in Birmingham.

Here at Brookes, she represented UCU at the LGBT History Month Showcase, speaking about UCU’s work around gender identity. She will also speak at the Department of Business & Management Staff Away Day on March 29th, where she will have 10 minutes to raise awareness of equality issues and of her role as Equality Officer.

Finally, Sola will take advantage of the next UCU Exec Meeting and AGM, both on May 10th, to brief the Exec and our Branch members on the progress we’ve made so far and on the way forward.

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Jeff Waistell our Branch Secretary, Bob Langridge (Vice-Chair) and Linet Arthur (JSC rep) attended the Joint Staff Consultative Committee (JSC) on March 8th, where the unions collectively raise issues of concern with senior management. The JSC meets several times each year.

The management side placed on the agenda issues of student recruitment and university finance, and the estates investment plan. The union side raised issues of policy (the university’s approach to and provision of mediation, and anonymised responses to leavers’ questionnaires over the last 12 months) and contractual issues (recent salary overpayments, the length of time taken to provide staff with contracts, and incremental progression for staff changing roles within Brookes). We also queried terms and conditions (the effectiveness of the redeployment process) and issues affecting academic workload (the increasing management requirements to provide slides in advance of lectures; extent of academics’ marketing roles and responsibilities; and the proportion of university spending on faculty academics).

We will update you further, with more details, once the JSC minutes are published.

 

 

 

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