Swansea University - Fixed Term Contracts - Code of Practice

Fixed Term Employment and Contract Research Staff

Policies and Procedures

 

Swansea University 

Fixed-Term Employment And Contract Research Staff

Fixed Term Appointments - Consultation Form (L9499)  

Fixed Term Consultation - meeting invite   (L5190/DGW/BMP)

 Code of Practice and Procedures

  1. Preamble

This document gives guidance on the employment of members of staff on fixed term contracts to achieve the right balance between flexible and efficient working and fair and secure employment that will bring benefits to both staff and to the University alike. It has been written to reflect the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations that came into force on 1 October 2002 which are incorporated into the Employment Act 2002 and the JNCHES Guidance on Fixed Term and Casual Employment. The document also incorporates and replaces the following earlier Swansea University documents: Code of Practice for Academic Related Staff and Non Academic Staff employed on Fixed Term Contracts funded through Research Contracts and Analogous Schemes. (K7353) Code of Practice relating to Academic and Academic Related Staff employed Part-time or on Fixed Term Contracts, Part or Full-Time. (J6832) Procedures for Consultation regarding the expiry of Fixed Term Contracts (K1319) Fixed Term Contracts Guidance (L2971) Concordat on Research Staff Career Management: Roles and Responsibilities (K2278)

  1. Introduction

The University depends on a range of funding sources, some of them variable and insecure. The University needs to make full use of modern and flexible work organisation and to adopt patterns of work that will fit challenges in the future. Just as important, all employees should be treated fairly and offered opportunities for staff in all occupational groups to pursue and develop their careers. The aim of these procedures is to achieve a proper balance between
flexible working and organisational efficiency, on the one hand, and security of employment and fair treatment of employees on the other.

  1. Application

These procedures will apply to all fixed term employees and “Contract Research Staff” other than those with appointments of very short duration (normally 3 months or less) that are not subject to renewal. This will include all types of appointment (Academic/Academic Related, Technical, Clerical/Secretarial, Maintenance and Manual)

  1. Principles

The following principles will be adopted with regard to the use of fixed term contracts:

a) equality of opportunity is reflected in all aspects of employment. Allocation of staff to fixed term contracts should be free of gender or race bias and will not discriminate on the grounds of disability or age. Monitoring will be undertaken to ensure that this is so,
b) indefinite contracts are the expected form of employment relationship between the employer and employee,
c) staff should only be placed on fixed term contracts where this is justified for transparent and objective reasons,
d) very short periods of employment will only be made where the situation is dictated by sickness, maternity leave or short funded projects. In particular, the situation in which an employee is appointed on a succession of short term contracts should be used only in circumstances where this is to the specific benefit of the employee concerned. That is in circumstances where not to do so would lead to the termination of the contract (eg gaps in research funding, provision of continuing sickness or maternity cover).
e) there may be legitimate reasons for offering fixed term employment (see below),
f) where the use of fixed term contracts is justifiable for transparent and objective reasons, staff on these contracts will be given,
g) comparable opportunity with other staff to develop performance and career prospects through staff development, training and appraisal,
h) the same terms and conditions of employment to those in comparable jobs with indefinite employment in the University unless the difference can be justified, in accordance with the legislation, for transparent and objective reasons,
i) information on, and the opportunity to apply for, more secure positions,
j) a review to consider indefinite employment at appropriate periods at any time at the request of the employee or Head of Department but in any case for any renewals of more than 3 years and then prior to any renewal of a fixed term contract taking place, unless the short term renewal is for 3 months or less for bridging purposes – see below, or for a reason in employees’ interest as stated under 4(d) above. There are benefits to the University and the long-term career development of staff in transferring fixed term staff to indefinite contracts. Indefinite employment will be available for members of staff currently on fixed term contracts where circumstances allow as described under section 9 below,
j) staff employed on fixed term contracts may have special needs (eg careers advice for contract research staff) relating to their short term contracts and facilities are available to meet these needs. (see Appendix).

  1. Objective Reasons For Fixed Term Contracts

There must be transparent and objective reasons for placing a post initially and subsequently on a fixed term contract. The renewal or extension of the fixed term contract must also be justified separately by transparent and objective reasons.

Examples of transparent and objective reasons or circumstances include:

a) the post requires specialist expertise or recent experience not already available within the institution in the short term,
b) to cover staff absence as appropriate (eg parental and adoptive leave, long term sickness, leave of absence, sabbatical leave or secondment),
c) the contract is to provide a secondment or career development opportunity,
d) input from specialist practitioners (for example, to provide professional expertise in departments such as Education or Law),
e) where the student or other business demand can be clearly demonstrated as particularly uncertain (for example, the reliance upon recruitment of students from overseas markets that have a record of instability),
f) limited term projects where there is no reasonably foreseeable prospect of funding being renewed nor other external or internal funding being available or becoming available, where members of staff are appointed for 3 years or less or for short extensions beyond this where this is in the employee’s interest (ie the employment would otherwise end). This will apply to appointments funded through research projects or where a reappointment is made to a new research project, where specific sums are awarded by sponsors for appointments for the period of the research contract,
g) opportunities for foreign visiting undergraduates/graduates with the requisite language skills. Some post holders have held these posts for many years on sessional renewable (or longer) contracts and the availability of such experienced staff had advantages for the language departments. Permanent contracts and/or longer term fixed term contracts would be appropriate for these members of staff who are not subject to exchange arrangements. Where language assistants hold part year contracts and where they are expected to be involved in examining, the duration of the contract should be sufficient to cover the main examining period, h) seasonal short course staffing with levels that vary with the demand (such as occur in the summer in the Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS),
i) Associate Tutors in the Department of Adult Continuing Education whose employment is determined by the fluctuating demand for short courses, particular modules or schemes of study.

  1. Employment Conditions

Swansea University is committed to ensuring that during the course of their employment all fixed term employees and 'Contract Research Staff' should experience and enjoy the same conditions of employment and opportunities for staff development as full time employees on the established staff of the University unless the difference is justifiable for a transparent and objective reason.

Any Fixed Term employee may receive, by making a request in writing to the Director of Human Resources, a written statement within 21 days of receipt of the request explaining any differences in their employment conditions from those of comparable permanent employees taking into account the overall remuneration package.

a) Appointment Procedures
The filling of fixed term posts should be in accordance with the policies contained in the Equal Opportunities Code of Practice, in respect of advertising, selection and appointment and guidance contained within the University’s Guidance on Recruitment documents.

b) Contracts of Employment
Swansea University employs staff covered by this Code of Practice on the same terms and conditions of appointment as full time HEFCW funded staff except where a transparent and objective reason justifies the difference. Swansea University would under normal circumstances ensure that all prospective employees and all employees to be reappointed or made permanent are forwarded a contract of employment no later than one month before the contract commences or recommences and wherever practicable 3 months before the contract of employment expires. It is incumbent on Heads of Department and Nominated Supervisors to communicate information to members of staff on any reasons for delay in renewal of appointments due to funding difficulties. The Human Resources Department will also provide assistance where required. The use of Bridging Funds in such circumstances may be appropriate (see section 8). The contract of employment should contain a job description based upon that submitted by Heads of Department/Chairs of Schools as described in the University’s Recruitment Procedures.

c) Termination Renewal and Permanency
The procedures for termination and the renewal of fixed term contracts, part or full time, will be in accordance with the Procedures for Consultation and Renewal and Permanency set out below.

d) Rates of Pay
Members of staff covered by this Code of Practice shall be entitled to salaries in accordance with the salary scales determined for members of staff and shall receive annual increments up to the maximum of their salary scales and will be eligible to benefit from national salary awards.

e) Hours of Work and Holidays
Members of staff covered by this code of practice shall be entitled to the same benefits in terms of holidays and working hours as permanent members of staff employed on the same grades.

f) Superannuation
All employees may join USS or the Swansea University Pension Scheme (SUPS) as appropriate and are encouraged to do so by Swansea University.

g) Sick Pay
Fixed term and 'Contract Research Staff' shall have access to the Sickness Pay Scheme operated by Swansea University.

h) Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Dependants Leave
All members of staff to whom this Code of Practice applies are eligible for the same benefits as permanent members of staff.

i) Probation
All fixed term appointments will be probationary in accordance with normal Swansea University practice. If the initial fixed term appointment is less than the probationary period then probation is still applied, unless the normal recruitment procedures have not taken place due to the short term nature of the appointment. If not, no probation procedures will be applied but the post will not be renewed without further advertising

j) Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures
All Academic and Academic Related Staff are subject to the disciplinary procedures in the University’s Chart and Statutes and may pursue grievances concerning their appointment or employment as allowed by the University’s Charter and Statutes. Non Academic staff employed on fixed term contracts are subject to the Disciplinary and Grievance procedures for such members of staff as outlined in their General Terms and Conditions of Employment.

k) Promotion, Discretionary Payments/Accelerated Increments
All employees covered by this Code of Practice are eligible to be considered for Promotion/Discretionary Payments/Accelerated Increments by the appropriate committees and all employees will be forwarded the documentation annually at the relevant time.

l) Staff Development
Swansea University is committed to ensuring that during the course of their employment all fixed term employees and 'Contract Research Staff' should experience and enjoy the same opportunities for staff development as permanent employees of the University. Swansea University is committed to ensuring that all 'Contract Research Staff' should benefit from their employment at the University, not only by testing their suitability for research but also by ensuring that through their employment they acquire a wider range of skills for effective career management and development. All fixed term and 'Contract Research Staff' shall have opportunity to participate in induction organised through the Staff Development Office. Please see Appendix 1, Code of Practice on Contract Research Staff Career Management.

m) Appraisal
All employees covered by this Code of Practice will participate in the appropriate appraisal scheme.

n) Conferences
All Academic and Related staff to whom this Code of Practice applies should, subject to the regulations already in existence, be entitled to attend conferences subject to the approval of the Head of Department/Chair of School and claim the appropriate expenses at University rates.

o) Rooms, Equipment and Other Facilities
All employees covered by this Code of Practice shall be provided with a suitable working environment. Fixed term academic and related staff will be entitled to use whatever University and Departmental facilities are appropriate to their work (such as libraries, laboratory and fieldwork equipment, photocopiers, stationery, telephone and secretarial assistance), be able to recommend books for purchase by the University Library, all in the same way and subject to the same rules as permanent staff. All employees covered by this Code of Practice shall have the same access to University facilities as established University staff, eg Library, Sports facilities, Catering and other general staff facilities etc.

p) Other
All employees covered by this Code of Practice will be subject to the Equal Opportunities Code of Practice, Race Equality Policy, University's Financial Regulations, Data Protection Regulations and Computing Regulations. All Fixed Term and 'Contract Research Staff' are encouraged to be members of recognised Trade Unions, currently: the Association of University Teachers (AUT) for academic, academic related, other related and research and analogous staff; Unison for clerical and secretarial staff; TGWU for manual and other support staff; Amicus for technical and maintenance staff. Academic Related fixed term and 'Contract Research Staff' will be subject to such regulations on Intellectual Property Rights as may be from time to time agreed by the University and may undertake Personal Consulting Work in accordance with the University’s Policy on Personal Consultancy Services.

  1. Procedures for Consultation, Termination and Renewal

Where fixed term contracts are due to expire, either because funding is due to cease or because no further funding has been obtained, it is a statutory requirement under the 'Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations’ 1995 and 1999 for an employer to consult with 'appropriate representatives' 'in good time' where it is intended to dismiss as redundant a certain minimum number of employees
within certain specified periods. It is further incumbent upon an employer to consult with employee representatives or representatives of the trade union about ways of avoiding the dismissals, to reduce the number of employees to be dismissed and to mitigate the consequences of the dismissals. An employer is also under a statutory duty to consult with a view to reaching agreement with the appropriate representatives. (In this context dismiss and dismissals are to be construed as covering the expiry of fixed term contracts.) Under the legislation consultation with Trade Unions should begin either:

a) thirty days in advance of the ninety day period if between 20 - 99 employees are to be dismissed or
b) ninety days in advance of the ninety day period if 100 or more employees are to be dismissed.

A process of consultation with individuals will commence not less than three months prior to the expiry of any fixed term contract. To enable this process of consultation to work, it is necessary for each person on a fixed term contract to be given a supervisor, ie 'a nominated supervisor'. The Human Resources Department, unless advised to the contrary, will assume this nominated supervisor to be the Head of Department in the first instance.

A. Individual Consultation

The required process of individual consultation will operate as follows:

i) In a specified period not less than four months before the expiry of any employee's fixed term contract, the Head of Department will be advised by the Human Resources Department of the employees whose contracts are terminating. At the same time, information will be sought from the Head of Department as to whether the contracts should be extended or terminated. Heads of Department should reply to this request as soon as possible and certainly no later than three weeks after the date of the letter from the Human Resources Department. Where a continuation of funding is not guaranteed, the assumption should be that the contract is to expire. The Human Resources Department will inform the individual and the Trade Unions of the expiry of the fixed term contract not less than three months before it is due to expire. The individual will be informed that he/she has the right, if so desired, to be represented in consultations either by his/her trade union if he/she is a member or if not by a friend/colleague on the staff of Swansea University.

ii) In the event that the contract is not to be extended, the nominated Supervisor/Head of Department must remind the member of staff of the date on which the contract is due to expire and ensure that the individual has considered whether he/she wishes to pursue suitable alternative employment within the University.

iii) Whether a fixed term contract is due to expire because funds have ceased or because funding is not guaranteed or because no reply has been received from a Head of Department, a letter (sample letter A in Appendix 2) will be sent by the Human Resources Department to the individual employee three months before the end of his/her contract.

iv) The letter will draw attention to the University’s Current Vacancies Bulletin, normally published weekly and which contains all vacancies advertised within the University and available on the Human Resources Department’s website. If ready access cannot be obtained the member of staff may be sent or request a personal copy.

v) Where an employee does wish to be considered for suitable alternative employment within the University he/she should return the pro-forma attached to the letter to the Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department will forward a copy to the 'nominated supervisor' for the appropriate action, as specified below. The employee may also wish to seek advice from the Human Resources Department.

B. Trade Union Consultation

The required process of Trade Union consultation will operate ninety days in advance of the ninety day period. The appropriate Trade Unions are:

 Academic and Related Staff  AUT
 Clerical/Secretarial/Manual Staff  UNISON
 Manual Staff  T&GWU
 Technical Staff/Maintenance Staff  AMICUS

 

C. Duties of Supervisors to Consult

Where a 'nominated supervisor' receives from the Human Resources Department information that the member of staff whose fixed term contract is due to expire wishes to be considered for alternative employment, that nominated supervisor should:

i) where he/she is not the Head of Department, liaise with the Head of Department or other appropriate authority, to consider whether other work is available to match the individual’s skills or whether there is any potential for the employee's work to be continued and if so, pursue, if he/she has not done so, applications for replacement funding.

ii) discuss and clarify with the individual employee concerned, who may be accompanied at any meeting by his/her trade union representative or by a friend/colleague on the staff of Swansea University, the types of posts for which he/she might be suitable and identify potentially suitable alternative employment (eg through the University's Current Vacancies Bulletin.) An initial copy of the Bulletin will be sent to the supervisor with the pro-forma indicating that the member of staff wishes to be considered for further vacancies.

iii) where a suitable vacancy is identified from the Vacancy Bulletin, the 'nominated supervisor' should ensure that the individual applies for the vacancy through the Human Resources Department and should accompany all such applications with a letter, see sample letter B in Appendix 2. Notes of discussions with and applications encouraged for the member of staff should be made by the supervisor and kept for a minimum of six months.

NB: Where an individual approaching the end of a fixed term contract has informed the Department that she is pregnant, the Head of Department/Section/Chair of School must seek advice from the Human Resources Department on further procedural matters which must be pursued.

D. Departmental Action where Departments receive Applications for Vacancies from Existing Staff whose Fixed Term Contracts are about to Expire

As an employer, Swansea University will seek to consider all possible ways of avoiding dismissals on the expiry of fixed term contracts.

When selecting applicants for appointment Heads of Department are required to give special consideration to Swansea University staff whose fixed term contracts are due to terminate within 3 months. To this end the Human Resources Department will scan all applications for advertised posts prior to submission to Departments for employees whose fixed term appointments are due to terminate, whether letter B has been attached or not and will request that Heads of Department give particular attention to these applications.

Departments receiving applications for employment from staff employed elsewhere in the University and whose fixed term contracts are about to expire, (normally up to 3 months from the expiry date) must consider whether such individuals are suitable for the vacancy and if so, offer the post to whomsoever of those individuals is the most suitable in all the circumstances. These circumstances should include consideration of the University’s obligation to find appropriate work for fixed term staff whose contracts are due to expire.

In practice, as a protection, Departments are strongly recommended to interview all applicants who are existing employees approaching the end of a fixed term appointment, other than those who are clearly unsuitable for the vacancy.

Should the interviewing panel decide that an internal applicant does not match the required person specification and is therefore not suitable for the job, detailed reasons must be kept for the decision. Where a member of the Human Resources Department attends the interview, these will be kept in the normal way, where a member of the Human Resources Department is not present, the reasons should be kept on the normal interview forms, previously circulated and these forms returned to the Human Resources Department in accordance with existing procedures. These forms will be retained by the Human Resources Department for six months. The Human Resources Department will advise all the unsuccessful applicants of the outcome.

Where an application from an existing member of staff approaching the end of a fixed term contract may be suitable for a vacancy subject to some reasonable retraining, if required, the Department is strongly recommended to offer the post to that person on a trial basis. Arrangements for this trial period should be discussed with a member of the Human Resources Department.

Where the best applicant from amongst existing staff members approaching the end of a fixed term contract is the most suitable for the post, the Head of Department should send a request to the Human Resources Department to appoint the person in the usual way.

It is of course up to Departments to define and judge suitability in line with the person specification and job description for that post. The responsibilities of the University to fund alternative employment is confined to circumstances where the vacancy is suitable given reasonable retraining where that is appropriate. It is essential, however, that:

i) departments consider each case carefully, judging a candidate's suitability against the person specification and job description

ii) the existing procedures for conducting interviews as previously circulated are adhered to, particularly with respect to detailed interview notes

iii) the grounds for the rejection of a fixed term applicant are reasonable and defensible.

  1. Bridging Funds (A provision for departmental bridging funds has been included in the Financial Regulations E 12.17)

As recommended by the Research Careers Initiative, departments are required to provide funding from balances held in ‘other D’ accounts to cover short term gaps in contracts for Research Contract staff. Such funding should normally be provided:

a) up to a maximum of three months

b) only where there is strong evidence that further external funding will become available in the near future.

Heads of Department may wish to consider the use of such funds in circumstances where formal notification of contract funding has been delayed.

Heads of Department should also consider exploring whether bridging funds are available from the funding body.

  1. Procedures for Consideration of Permanency

The use of successive fixed term contracts is limited to four years, after which employment will be permanent unless the use of further fixed term contracts is justified for transparent and objective grounds examples of which are given above in section

If a fixed term contract is renewed beyond this limit, without transparent and objective reasons for doing so it is effectively permanent. A fixed term employee then has a right to ask the employer for a written statement confirming that his/her contract is permanent or setting out the transparent and objective reasons for the use of a fixed term contract beyond the four-year limit.

The procedures for consideration of permanency or continuation of the fixed term contract for transparent and objective reasons are set out below.

a) Procedures will be introduced by the Human Resources Department to ensure that when fixed term contracts (including research contracts) are to be renewed for more than 3 years a review of each case will be undertaken to consider permanent employment. This will apply to any reappointment that will have the effect that the member of staff will have completed more than three years continuous service in all.

At the appropriate time, normally not less than 3 months before the expiry of a fixed term contract, a review of each member of staff on a fixed term contract will take place to consider indefinite employment, unless the renewal is for a period of 3 months or less for bridging purposes or for a reason which is in the interest of the employee. This does not preclude the possibility of a review earlier in the employment at the request of the member of staff or head of department.

b) If a fixed term contract is to be renewed for a total continuous employment period of longer than 3 years, Heads of Department will be expected to state transparent and objective reason for the renewal. If this is not considered sufficient by the Director of Human Resources or if no reason is given, the case will be referred to the relevant body for consideration of permanency.

c) A request for permanency may be made at any time following renewal of a fixed term contract either by the Head of the Department concerned or the individual member of staff. The Director of Human Resources will refer the case initially to the relevant body, to consider whether the post should be made permanent or whether there exist transparent and objective reasons for the post to remain fixed term.

If the post remains fixed term the decision will be communicated to the individual member of staff through the renewal letter. The renewal letter will state the transparent and objective reasons for this decision.

d) If the relevant body makes a recommendation that the post may be filled permanently the relevant body will consider:

For Academic & Related Staff

i) Does the current post holder have a positive record of probation reports?
ii) Was the post holder appointed by the full appointments procedure appropriate for that post?

For Non Academic Staff

i) Was the post advertised in accordance with the appropriate procedures?
ii) Was the successful candidate interviewed by an appointments panel appropriate for that post?

It is recognised that there may be exceptional cases with, for example a record of employment of a number of years, where the rigid application of all the above rules will not be appropriate.

The relevant body will make the decision based on the available evidence and will recommend whether a permanent appointment is to be made, in which case action will be taken by the Human Resources Department to offer an open ended appointment to the member of staff concerned, from the expiry date of the fixed term appointment. Positive decisions relating to Academic and Related Staff will be reported to Council at the next meeting in the regular “Appointments to the Staff” reports.

e) If the post and appointment is made permanent the letter will identify to the member of staff concerned that notwithstanding that a permanent contract has been awarded that there remains the possibility that the employment might in future end for reasons of redundancy, as is the case for all employees under employment law.

  1. Note on Application of Statute 22 with regard to Redundancy

Statute 22, Part II of the Charter and Statutes of Swansea University sets out the procedure to be followed with regard to redundancy of Academic and Related Staff. This procedure, together with the relevant appeals procedure set out in Part V of the Statutes, could not be operated within the time scale required for termination where appointments are financed through limited term external funds (eg appointments funded through research projects where specific sums are awarded for appointments for the period of the research contract). Should Statute 22 be revised in future the application of permanency to such appointments will be reviewed.


December 2003

Appendix 1

Code of Practice on Contract Research Staff Career Management:

  1. Introduction

The Concordat sets standards for the career management and conditions of employment of researchers employed by universities and colleges on fixed term or similar contracts and funded through research grants or analogous schemes. It recognises that fixed-term grants will continue to play a major part in the funding and prosecution of research, with contract staff making a continuing contribution to that research. Whilst an established career in academia or exclusively academic research is realistic for only a minority, contract research staff should be able

  • to benefit from the research experience,
  • to use the period of employment to test their suitability for further research inside or outside academia and 
  • to acquire a wider range of competencies and experience.
  1. Career Development of Contract Research Staff

a) Responsibility for gaining wider experience from the research project than specific research skills, lies with both the Department and the individual contract staff member. Opportunities to enhance experience will be provided by the Department, following agreement between the Head of Department, the contract supervisor and the individual, with the support of the Staff Development Unit and other University sections.

b) The opportunity to participate in training courses provided by the Staff Development Unit is through the circulation on a termly basis of the newsletter 'Update' to members of staff. Heads of Department and Supervisors will encourage all 'Contract Research Staff' to attend appropriate courses.

'Contract Research Staff' receive appraisals organised by their Supervisor/Head of Department. 'Contract Research Staff' should be proactive in ensuring that this takes place. Non academic staff should participate in the appropriate University appraisal scheme.

Contract supervisors should organise regular meetings with their Academic Related 'Contract Research Staff' to monitor progress on their research activities and to ensure that their training needs are identified and catered for; reports of these meetings should be transmitted to Heads of Departments.

e) Academic Related 'Contract Research Staff' should maintain a 'Personal Profile' giving a record of achievement relating to training and career development issues to include an action plan on how full coverage is to be achieved. The Personal Profile should, for example, include a regularly updated curriculum vitae, records of all publications, training courses attended and appraisal/progress documentation.

f) The process of personal development planning at regular intervals (eg every 6 months) is commended to Contract Research Staff and staff are encouraged to use the Personal Development Planner developed by the Careers Centre for this purpose. A personal development planning tool is available on www.swan.ac.uk/crs/career.htm.

g) A University website tailored to the needs of Contract Research Staff is available providing a wide range of information of interest to Contract Research Staff at www.swan.ac.uk/crs

h) Academic Related 'Contract Research Staff', if nominated by the Head of Department, may undertake such demonstrating and teaching duties up to the limit allowed by the grant awarding body, for which appropriate training will be offered.

i) The Department, supported by the Careers Centre, will offer individual career counselling for Academic Related 'Contract Research Staff' at the request of the Supervisor/Head of Department.

j) The Careers Centre offers workshops on career management skills covering the graduate job market, further study and research opportunities, applications for posts, interview skills and other selection methods. All Academic Related 'Contract Researchers' are invited to attend these workshops.

k) The Staff Development Unit/Careers Centre offers appropriate courses in personal transferable skills.

l) The Staff Development newsletter, Update, which is published termly, is distributed to all Contract Research Staff and it lists all training courses available during that term. Contract Research Staff are required as part of their conditions of employment to participate in courses appropriate for their career development.

m) Monitoring is a feature of the Concordat. Where required, the Human Resources Department on behalf of the relevant Research Councils, will send out questionnaires to all Academic Related Contract Research Staff at the end of their employment. 

  1. Responsibilities of the University

a) At the beginning of the contract period, the funding bodies require the University to provide Contract Research Staff with a statement of the provisions for career development as set out in the Concordat, together with conditions of employment. This Code of Practice will be issued by the Personnel Department at the time of appointment.
b) A variety of staff development and training courses will be provided by the Staff Development Unit/Careers Centre, all of which shall be available to Contract Research Staff. Information on course availability will be distributed through channels such as Update, email, and by direct invitation.
c) The Personnel Department will issue to Heads of Department annual appraisal/progress forms for completion by each member of the Academic Related Contract Research Staff and the appropriate Contract Research Supervisors.
d) The Staff Development Unit will organise, as required, courses for Contract Research Supervisors explaining their responsibilities under the Concordat. 

  1. Responsibilities of Departments

a) It is recognised that the responsibility for gaining wider experience from the Contract Research Project lies with both the Department and the individual Contract Research Staff member. Opportunities to enhance experience will be provided by the Department, following agreement between the Head of Department, the Contract Research Supervisor and the individual with the support of the Staff Development Unit/Careers Centre and other University sections.

b) It is the duty of Heads of Department and Contract Research Supervisors to encourage Contract Research Staff to enrol for relevant training and development courses offered by the Staff Development Office/Careers Centre or by other appropriate course providers. The Staff Development Unit will advise Heads of Departments annually (usually in June/July) of the courses attended by the Contract Research Staff in their Departments, so that Heads of Departments may assess whether the opportunities being offered are being taken advantage of.

c) Heads of Department must ensure that all Academic Related Contract Research Staff and Contract Research Supervisors undertake annual appraisal and complete the annual appraisal/progress forms, as well as the questionnaires issued by the University itself and on behalf of funding bodies at the end of the contract research period.

d) Heads of Department must take appropriate steps to store completed annual appraisal/progress forms securely, and it is the responsibility of the Head of Department to notify the Personnel Department that appropriate actions have been taken for the appraisal of every member of the Contract Research Staff. Training needs identified for all Contract Research Staff will be notified to the Staff Development Unit. Authorised personnel acting on behalf of the Personnel Department may inspect appraisal/progress report forms to ensure that Departments are complying with this Code of Practice.

e) Heads of Department must institute effective procedures for notifying Contract Research Staff nearing the end of their contract, of opportunities for continued employment within the Department, the University sector and elsewhere, liaising with the Careers Centre over services and facilities available and using the Current Vacancies Bulletin issued weekly by the Personnel Department.

f) Heads of Department must allow all Academic Related Contract Research Staff to take part in any Forum arranged by the Staff Development Unit and make appropriate arrangements so that issues concerning Contract Research Staff can be discussed at meetings of the Departmental Committee and other relevant Sub-Committees organised within Departments.

g) Contract Research Supervisors should organise regular meetings with their Academic Related Contract Research Staff to monitor progress on their research activities, and to ensure that their training needs are identified and catered for. Arrangements will be made for the frequency of meetings to be documented on the annual appraisal/progress forms.

  1. Responsibilities of Contract Research Staff

a) Contract Research Staff must act pro-actively to ensure that their annual appraisal/progress forms and any questionnaires issued by the funding bodies are completed and returned promptly.

b) Contract Research Staff must take a pro-active view of their responsibilities by attending training and development courses provided by the Staff Development Unit/Careers Centre, and also by suggesting any additional courses/training schemes relevant to their needs.

c) Contract Research Staff should ensure that they take advantage of individual careers counselling provided by the Careers Centre and the workshops offered by that Centre.

d) Contract Research Staff are encouraged to undertake limited demonstrating and teaching duties, consistent with the limits set by grant conditions, if nominated by the Head of Department in order to acquire additional experience.

e) It is recommended that Contract Research Staff maintain a Personal Profile giving a record of achievement relating to training and career development issues to include an action plan on how full coverage is to be achieved. The Personal Profile should include a regularly updated curriculum vitae, records of all publications, training courses attended and appraisal/progress documentation. This Personal Profile should be used as the basis for discussion with the Contract Research Supervisor with a view to further development.

f) Since it is recognised that not all Contract Research Staff will be able to nor will intend to remain in the academic context of the University for their entire careers, Contract Research Staff must be pro-active in: 

  • the work of submitting proposals for additional contract research periods (eg with their supervisors or other colleagues or as principal investigators, in accordance with their skills and experience and within the agreed policies of their departments).
  • identifying and applying for positions within the University sector and elsewhere, and
  • ensuring that maximum benefits are derived from contract research periods in order to enhance their future career prospects.

November 2003