DEFEND YOUR STUDENT EXPERIENCE
As you might have heard, UCA is planning to reduce its spending by around £5m in the 19/20 academic year.
The universities proposed business cases have been released, and can all be found at ucasu.com/haveyourcay/ucabudget . It’s important we hear from as many students as possible so we know how you think you might be affected.
The university has provided us with a Q&A presented to us by Alan Cooke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Resources) on behalf of UCA’s Leadership Team. The Q&A provides more information regarding UCA’s plans, and includes our own commentary.
You can find the Q&A and the proposed Business Cases HERE.
Have your say!
It’s important that you get to have your say on the budget cuts facing UCA. If you want to have your say, leave your comments in the form below. You can also leave your contact details, and we will get in touch with updates and future opportunities for you to provide feedback.
Proposed business cases for affected departments can be found HERE.
If you have any questions, please contact:
We will keep you updated with all the progress on this situation here, including communications between us and the University, and any developments regarding the budget cuts.
UCA Extend Consultation Period until Wed 29 May
The following is an email sent out by Angela Fisher (Director of Human Resources), detailing the extension of the Business Case Consultation period. As a result of this extension, we will now be collecting student feedback via the form until Wednesday 29 May, at which point the information will be collated and presented to the Leadership Team.
I am writing to update you regarding some changes to the timescale for the Business Case consultation process, and also to answer some of the frequently asked questions that have been posed by staff. All of this information is also available on the staff portal and I would encourage you to use this for all the latest information relating to the University Business Case: https://staff.uca.ac.uk/university-business-case/
In addition to the staff portal, we will also be issuing major Business Case Updates via staff email, as requested by the Trade Unions at the last JCNC meeting.
To allow more time for feedback and MARS applications, deadlines have been revised as follows:
- The individual consultation process (due to end on Wed 22nd May) is extended until noon on Wed 29th May. This aligns the process for the individual and collective consultation with the Trade Unions.
- The MARS date is extended until the same time and date, noon on Wed 29th May (previously Wed 22nd May).
- Mon 3rd Jun the MARS panel meets to review applications.
- Monday 10th June staff to be advised of outcome of MARS applications
- Week commencing Monday 10th June final business cases issued to staff.
Redundancy Modifications Order
Many staff have asked whether previous service counts for the purposes of redundancy, and also for MARS. Previous continuous service in other organisations which are covered by the Redundancy Payments (Continuity of Employment in Local Government, etc) (Modification) Order 1999 does count towards your redundancy calculation, and also MARS, but only if there is no break in service. Further information can be found here https://seemp.co.uk/free-resources/modification-order-information/. If you have previous service that you think may qualify, you should obtain written confirmation from that employer of your dates of service, that they are covered by the Redundancy Modifications Order, and that you did not receive a Redundancy payment from them. A break in service would be any break of 7 days or more running from a Sunday to Saturday.
MARS settlement template
If you are considering an application for MARS but would like to see the MARS Settlement Agreement template before applying, this is now available on the staff portal here https://webdocs.ucreative.ac.uk/Precedent-Settlement-Agreement-FINAL-1558426800097.pdf
A reminder that advice and support is available to staff affected through a new Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) https://my-eap.com/, using the organisation code ‘UCAwell’.
Also myToolkit for Change available on myLearning and Development provides lots of helpful resources, and drop-in sessions continue on all campuses through May, June and July. Further details and dates can be found here: https://webdocs.ucreative.ac.uk/myToolkit_for_Change_leaflet_intranet-1556699880015.pdf
Estimates for Redundancy and MARS
Just a reminder that you can obtain your own estimate of Redundancy by using the ready reckoner on the staff portal https://staff.uca.ac.uk/university-business-case/redundancy-payment-calculator/ .
You can also use this for an estimate of the payment you would receive under MARS, but remember to add on £1500. Redundancy estimates for all staff at risk are being sent out by HR this week.
Feedback on the Business Case
Those affected by the University Business Case should continue to submit their comments and feedback to their Business Case Lead. Any questions relating to the process or individual terms and conditions should be sent to HR via consultation@UCA.ac.uk.
UCA Leadership Team Provides Second Q&A
The Leadership Team have provided us with a second Q&A, answering further questions from students and staff about the process of staff restructuring. You can find the Q&A and the proposed Business Cases HERE.
Student Action Regarding Budget Cuts
Over the past few weeks, we have noticed a high number of students interested in the UCA budget cuts that will be coming into effect before the next academic year. We’ve had students approach us with their concerns which led to the creation of the ‘Stop UCA Staff Cuts’ petition in April, which has now surpassed 2200 signatures after a huge influx of signatures this week, and students are now organising demonstrations of their campuses.
Taking all of this to account, we as a union will stand with students to defend your student experience and provide you with the right support and information through this campaign.
We will ensure there is clear communication of the timeline regarding the business cases so you can be in the loop of what is going on and will have the documents available for you to read.
You deserve to have your voices heard so we are offering to provide advice to students who would like to independently organise anything on their campuses, whether that is a forum, an open letter or demonstration, taking into account that we will need to review your plans – this is so we can do what we can to provide the right information, advice and make sure these events go on as safely and as peaceful as possible. Once we’ve been able to talk about your plans with you and consider any needs or risks, the sabbatical officers can help you promote your event, offer help with printing, and take part.
We are determined to defend your student experience and represent your voice. We have created a page on our website which we will be updating to make sure you are up to date with information. You can also sign up so you can receive updates about the campaign as well as submit your feedback.
These documents contain the ‘business cases’ for each department of UCA that is affected by the budget cuts. Each case has been compiled by senior members of that department. The business cases detail how the departments will reduce staff and other costs, in order to meet targets they have been set by the Leadership team. They are currently drafts, subject to feedback from staff and students, and will be finalised on 29 May. You can submit feedback on the form above which will be collated by UCASU staff and submitted to UCA’s Leadership team.
This letter was sent by Alan Cooke Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Resources) in response to a letter from UCASU’s Presidents outlining the Union’s key concerns about the budget cuts.
Thank you for your letter dated 16 April 2019 and advising of the concerns raised by the Students’ Union and students in connection with the recently issued University Business Case. I welcomed the opportunity of meeting with Riley, Andy and Sophie yesterday to run through the context and background of the Business Case and the presentation provided to staff last week.
The University notes the concerns raised in connection with the staff-student ratio and quality of course delivery, along with the areas you mention around pastoral care and support, and these will be addressed in the business cases due to be issued to all staff on May 3.
I undertook to make available a copy of the Business Cases to the SU once they have been issued to staff. These will contain the full details of the Business Cases which will be received by staff in the relevant School or Department. A summary of the Business Cases will be posted on the Staff Portal and can be circulated to students.
As mentioned to colleagues in the meeting, the University has already agreed that the timescale for consultation on the Business Cases will be extended until 22 May, to take account of the Easter break, and at present the final Business Case will be implemented from the 3 June.
I handed to colleagues at the meeting a draft list of questions and answers that we have prepared arising from issues already raised, and i am willing to add to the list any further questions that arise from yourselves or students. To help co-ordinate these questions i asked that this was carried out through the SU so that you can capture concerns and issues raised by students. I also offered to post the answers through the SU portal if that was helpful.
We welcome the opportunity to continue constructive dialogue with the SU during the process so that we can minimise the impact of the Business Cases on both staff and students through what will be challenging times for both the HE sector and the University.
In the meantime, if there is any further information you would like at this time, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Professor Alan Cooke
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Corporate Resources)
This letter was sent by our Presidents (Marta Szurmiej, Riley Clowes and Simone Ziel) to the Leadership Team
“Dear Leadership Team,
We refer to your business case and supplementary materials circulated to staff and students detailing measures to achieve c£5m savings in the 2019/20 academic year.
The Union’s concern is of a reduction to the quality of teaching, through reduced access to staff time, facilities, or other components associated with learning and course delivery.
The business case states despite making the required savings, that the staff-student ratio will not be affected, and that the quality of course delivery will be at least maintained. Also specified is the target to increase recruitment over the coming years. We seek information as to how these three ambitions will be achieved, as the quality of course delivery and staff-student ratio is of utmost importance to students.
We also seek assurances that the provision of pastoral care and learning support will not be reduced. Students currently receiving support with learning or emotional needs should continue to access these services at a quality and frequency not lower than is currently provided.
Finally, we ask that the consultation period be extended by four weeks to provide information and assurances to students, and to seek their input into the future configuration of learning at UCA.
Marta Szurmiej – President
Riley Clowes – Vice-President Kent
Simone Ziel – Vice-President Surrey”