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Duties and Responsibilities of Heads of Departments (excluding academic units of the School of Life and Medical Sciences)

contact: Nick McGhee, Academic Support Officer (and Acting Secretary to Council), Student and Registry Services

Policy

General

In accordance with UCL Regulation for Management 11, the Head of Department is responsible to the Council of UCL via the Provost for the organisation and general conduct of her or his Department and is expected to participate in its teaching, examining and administrative work - including performance management and appraisal - and to pursue research.

The following schedule of duties and responsibilities applies to Heads of Departments in the Faculties of Arts and Humanities, the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences, Laws, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Social and Historical Sciences, as well as to the Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) and the heads of the School of Energy and Resources, Australia (UCL SERAus) and of UCL in Qatar (UCL-Q). In the School of Life and Medical Sciences, there are specific (although largely similar) duties and responsibilities prescribed for the Directors of Divisions and Institutes - see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/academic-manual/part-8/slms-directors

The specific duties and responsibilities of Heads of Departments include the following:

1 Academic Planning

1.1 In consultation with staff of the Department and, where appropriate, the relevant Dean of the Faculty ('the Dean' hereafter) or Academic Vice-Provost, the Head of Department will: (a) formulate and monitor the academic planning, development and performance of the Department (including planning in respect of the UK higher education funding bodies' Research Excellence Framework (REF)); (b) prepare a Departmental Strategic Plan according to a timetable defined by UCL.

1.2 The Head of Department should discuss major academic developments first with the relevant Dean before referral to the Provost as appropriate. Specific areas of academic planning should in addition be referred to the relevant Division of UCL's Professional Services, as follows:

  • regarding the accommodation implications, if any, of proposed academic developments and staff recruitment, to the Director of Estates;
  • regarding the REF, to the REF Manager and Deputy Registrar (Communications), Student and Registry Services in the first instance;
  • regarding all other aspects of Academic Planning, to the Director of Financial Planning and Strategy.

2 Equal Opportunity

2.1 The Head of Department will be responsible for appointing a Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officer (DEOLO) and for promoting equality and diversity within the Department in accordance with UCL Policy.

3 Finance

3.1 The Head of Department will manage the Department's finances, working closely with the Dean of the Faculty, and handle financial matters in accordance with the Financial Regulations and approved procedures of UCL, details of which will be provided by the Director of Finance and Business Affairs.

3.2 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of finance should be referred to the Director of Finance and Business Affairs.

4 Estates

4.1 The Head of Department will consult the Director of Estates regarding any proposal to undertake alterations or other work. Except where specifically agreed otherwise by the Director of Estates, all work to the fabric and services will be procured through the UCL Estates Division.

5 Procurement

5.1 The Head of Department will be responsible for ensuring that staff in her or his Department responsible for purchasing follow the procedures and guidance contained in UCL's Procurement Handbook.

6 Information

6.1 The Head of Department is responsible for ensuring that information which the Head receives from the Provost and other UCL Officers is appropriately acted upon and/or disseminated within the Department.

6.2 The Head of Department should make arrangements for appropriate filtering of incoming information so that members of the Department are not overloaded with information which the Head judges to be irrelevant to them.

7 Meetings

7.1 The Head of Department will ensure that a Departmental Staff Meeting is held at least twice in each academic year and will be responsible for the chairing and conduct of such meetings in accordance with Regulations for Management 11.5 to 11.12.

7.2 The Head of Department, in accordance with Regulation for Management 12.3, will ensure that: a Staff-Student Consultative Committee for the Department is constituted; its constitution and procedures are acceptable to the staff and students of the Department; the Committee meets at least twice in each academic year; its minutes are forwarded to the Secretary to UCL's Joint Staff Student Committee for receipt on behalf of UCL's Joint Staff Student Committee.

7.3 The Head of Department will attend the Provost's meetings with Heads of Department (or will nominate another person to do so in her or his absence); and will disseminate information and/or take action in accordance with decisions arising from such meetings, as appropriate.

7.4 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of the above meetings should be referred to the Quality Assurance Coordinator in Academic Services, Student and Registry Services (in respect of 7.2) or the office of the Vice-Provost (Operations) (in respect of 7.3).

8 Quality Management and Enhancement

8.1 In consultation, where appropriate, with the Dean of the Faculty concerned, the Head of Department will ensure: that quality management and enhancement processes operate within the Department in accordance with policies and procedures, etc, laid down in the UCL Academic Manual; and that staff and, where appropriate, students of the Department are informed of such processes.

8.2 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of quality management and enhancement should be referred to the Director of Academic Services, Student and Registry Services.

9 Research Governance

9.1 The Head of Department will ensure that staff and, where appropriate, students of the Department are apprised of UCL’s arrangements for research governance and the associated procedures (see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/srs/governance-and-committees/resgov), the main components of which include:

  • UCL’s research ethics framework
  • UCL code of conduct for research
  • Procedure for investigating and resolving allegations of misconduct in academic research
  • Declaration of interest policy
  • UCL's Research Governance Committee and committees reporting thereto
  • Policy, principles and procedures for the care and treatment of human remains at UCL.

9.2 The Head of Department/the Director is responsible for agreeing all ethical approvals which may be required for research activities carried out by members of the Department/Division. 

9.3 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of research governance should be referred to the Registrar in the first instance.

10 Safety and Environmental Sustainability

10.1 The Head of Department will demonstrate commitment to UCL's published Health and Safety and Environmental Sustainability Policies by making, recording and ensuring the implementation of arrangements to meet the policies and associated UCL requirements.

10.2 The Head of Department will be required to set out and record a summary of the Department’s priorities for improvement action in the current year which will reflect the outcomes from their annual review as well as the overall UCL Safety Objectives and Environmental Sustainability Strategy.

10.3 The Head of Department will ensure that their organisation is adequate to ensure that the departmental arrangements will be implemented to meet UCL requirements for Safety and Environmental Sustainability. 

10.4 The Head of Department will be required to appoint a Departmental Safety Officer, a Departmental Environment Officer and other Nominated Persons specified by UCL Policy and requirements. (These Officers and Nominated Persons must be competent to advise the Head of Department of the arrangements within the Department which are necessary to discharge adequately the Head of Department's responsibilities.)

11 Security

11.1 In consultation with the UCL Security Office, the Head of Department will implement agreed security measures in the Department during normal working hours and in respect of all visits to or other special events in the Department which may have particular security implications.

11.2 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of security should be referred to the UCL Security Manager.

12 Staffing

12.1 The Head of Department will be responsible for the management of staff of the Department, including (i) training, development and career management and (ii) day-to-day management matters, such as leave of absence, sick leave, etc.

12.2 The Head of Department will be responsible for: ensuring that the Appraisal, Review and Development Scheme is undertaken for all appropriate staff of the Department; implementation within the Department of the Contract Research Staff Management Scheme; implementing UCL employment procedures as set out in staff handbooks.

12.3 The Head of Department will review and report annually on probationers' progress and performance in respect of academic staff in accordance with the Handbook of Guidance for Probationers, Heads of Department and Mentors and for reviewing the probationary service of non-academic staffs.

12.4 The Head of Department will be responsible for putting forward cases for Senior Academic Promotions - for discussion with the Dean of the relevant Faculty, who will be responsible for presenting all cases from the Faculty to the Director of Human Resources, for consideration by the appropriate committees.

12.5 Details of the above schemes can be obtained from the Human Resources Division or are available on the Division's website.

12.6 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of staffing should be referred to the Director of Human Resources.

13 Students

13.1 The Head of Department will be responsible for the implementation and general overview of processes within the Department to ensure the educational progress and welfare of students registered with the Department.

13.2 Enquiries regarding Head of Department responsibilities in respect of Students should be referred to the Registrar. 

14 Business Continuity

14.1 The Head of Department is responsible for the maintenance of business continuity in the Department and for working with UCL's Major Incident Team in the event of a major incident or emergency at UCL. This will require being contactable, if necessary, outside working hours.

15 Other

15.1 The Head of Department may be asked to carry out such other duties and responsibilities as the Council or the Provost may from time to time prescribe.

April 2014