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Strategy for Human Resources 2005 - 2010
1.1 UCL's corporate goals affirm its intention to retain a place amongst the greatest universities in the world with a global reputation for excellence in teaching and research, based on the high calibre and diversity of both its staff and students. In this context UCL aims to attract, retain and develop a diverse and highly talented workforce with the knowledge and skills to achieve its corporate goals and the vision to develop UCL as a major world player. UCL aims to be a dynamic and flexible organisation which can respond effectively to the global context within which it operates.
2.1 UCL's first formal HR Strategy was developed in 2001 and established a forward looking framework within which high calibre staff could be recruited, developed and equitably rewarded in a welcoming work environment, underpinned by a demonstrable commitment to promoting equal opportunity. UCL's HR Strategy 2001-2004 established ambitious targets and led to the review and modernisation of many of UCL's employment practices, which equips it well for competition on the international stage. This document updates the strategy for the period 2005-2010 in light of the refocusing of UCL's objectives following the publication of the UCL White Paper (2004) and subsequent strategic developments . External drivers such as changes in employment and equalities legislation, the Roberts' report and Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) initiatives such as Rewarding and Developing Staff and its proposed sustainable development strategy for higher education are also reflected.
3 Guiding principles that support this strategy
- The HR Strategy supports UCL's academic priorities and the objectives laid out in its supporting strategies 1 .
- UCL aims to be a safe and healthy workplace in which all feel welcome, diversity is celebrated and individuals from minority groups are not excluded or discriminated against.
- A world class university actively develops the skills it needs for success and manages performance effectively.
- The HR Strategy supports efficient, fair, consistent and sustainable management practices enabling UCL to compete with the best in the world.
3.1 The strategy is compiled under the following headings:
- Recruitment and retention
- Remuneration, benefits and grading
- Staff development and management capacity building
- Equality and diversity
- HR management information and administration
- Managing and monitoring performance
3.2 This strategy has been the subject of consultation with Heads of Department and Departmental Administrators and with UCL's three recognised trade unions all of whom have contributed to its development and implementation. It has been endorsed by the Provost's Senior Management Team and the Human Resources Policy Committee (HRPC) and will be ratified by UCL Council before being implemented. Progress against the action plan allied to the strategy will be reported to the Provost's Senior Management Team and relevant committees and it will be monitored, refined and revised as necessary in light of progress against objectives, benchmark data and any changes to UCL's corporate and academic plans.
4 Recruitment and retention
4.1 Attracting and retaining world class staff is key to UCL's mission and failure to do so is identified as one of UCL's key risks. Staff turnover is regularly benchmarked both with the rest of the HE sector and the public sector more broadly. The baseline staff turnover rate across all staff groups has remained steady and below the sector average between 2001 and 2004. The recruitment and retention of staff is monitored closely, with turnover and exit data reported regularly to the Provost's Senior Management Team and relevant committees. Turnover, recruitment and equality monitoring data form part of UCL's Key Performance Indicators agreed by Council in March 2005 and will be reported annually to Council.
4.2 Market pay data is collected, analysed and benchmarked against that of competitor universities and other organisations where possible; market supplements are used where appropriate. UCL is centrally located within one of the most vibrant and popular capital cities in the world but it is also one of the most expensive. As UCL continues to attract staff from around the globe, the efficacy of relocation support arrangements will be kept under close review. London Weighting was indexed with effect from 2004, to the annual cost of living salary inflation and UCL's remuneration arrangements will be scrutinised to ensure sufficient flexibility in the light of changing market conditions.
4.3 UCL has a commitment to recruiting world class staff and aims for its workforce to reflect the diversity of the populations from which it recruits in terms of race, sex, age and disability status. Workforce equality targets are established where monitoring data shows this not to be the case. Equality monitoring of recruitment activity, the workforce profile, training take up and the implementation of a range of employment policies takes place regularly and informs strategic decision making and policy development. The requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act informed a comprehensive assessment of the impact of UCL corporate policies in 2004-05 and that together with the results from UCL's first Staff Survey will inform further policy review and revision with a view to increasing staff satisfaction as measured by subsequent surveys.
4.4 As one of the largest research led universities in the UK , a significant proportion of UCL's staff are funded by external fixed term research income. The nature of research funding in the UK determines that most research staff do not secure a career with one employer but need to move between employers to maximise career opportunities. UCL is moving away from the routine use of fixed term funding to open ended contracts in order to provide staff employed on fixed term research funding with as much stability as possible and is committed to providing research staff with the key skills training, development opportunities and support structures to manage their careers effectively.
5 Remuneration, benefits and grading
5.1 In 2004-05 UCL is undertaking the most significant review of its pay and grading arrangements in the last two decades, in the context of the national Pay Framework Agreement. In partnership with its recognised trade unions, a new job evaluation system has been introduced to replace three outdated systems and will provide the data for the formulation and agreement of a new grading structure. The single job evaluation scheme will play a key part in ensuring that UCL offers equal pay for work of equal value in that dissimilar jobs that are similar in size and complexity will be placed on the same grade. Equal pay auditing will ensure that any historical differences in the pay of men and women on the same grade with the same length of service can be addressed. A policy framework including a market pay policy, grading review arrangements, appeal systems and a policy on the reward of contribution will also be put in place to reflect UCL's commitment to transparency and equal pay. On implementation of the new grading system and pay scales, the arrangements for determining pay of professorial and senior management posts will also be reviewed.
5.2 As part of the Pay Framework implementation UCL will, where practicable, harmonise terms and conditions across all staff groups. This harmonisation of conditions, along with the introduction of UCL's WorkLife Balance Policy is aimed at improving recruitment and retention amongst the groups of staff in which UCL traditionally experiences the highest turnover. Establishing a similar set of terms and conditions for posts at all levels reinforces UCL's commitment to equality of treatment of its staff.
6 Staff development and management capacity building
6.1 UCL is establishing a single portfolio of core skills which undergraduate and graduate programmes address and the Research Councils now require that junior research staff develop the key skills that equip them for their career. Building on this principle it is proposed to identify the core skill sets expected of staff and managers with responsibility for staff or students and to be more explicit about UCL's expectations in this regard. Having identified core competencies proportionate to their responsibilities, the training available will be more clearly linked to their acquisition and expectations regarding induction and continuing professional development will be clarified.
6.2 This initiative - which has already commenced in relation to research staff - supports UCL's commitment to the professionalisation of teaching, research and support activities. Training needs will be better identified, development will be targeted at the areas of greatest need and opportunities for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) will be expanded to enable staff with busy schedules to make the most of the time they can devote to this activity. The extent of the take-up will be monitored closely. UCL is committed to the professionalisation of its support staff and will ensure that the Admin Review in 2005-2006 leads to models of good practice and informs the induction, training and communication channels required to develop world class support teams.
6.3 All stages of training provision (needs analysis, delivery and evaluation) will be reviewed to ensure the effectiveness of the training. Various CPD activities will be offered including coaching, 'blended' solutions, on-line provision and 'bite size' workshops.
6.4 UCL aims to ensure effective leadership and efficient management at all levels and the percentage of staff undertaking appropriate management training and development is one of the Key Performance Indicators which will be reported to Council annually.
6.5 UCL's commitment to the professionalisation of teaching is documented in its Learning and Teaching Strategy and related action plans. In 2004-05, UCL increased the resources to support the Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (CLTHE), the first module of which is currently completed by all probationary Lecturers 2. This approach to the training of new Lecturers and UCL Teachers will be reviewed when the detailed Higher Education Funding Council requirements coming into force in 2006 3 are known. UCL aims to provide a portfolio of high quality modular courses supporting learning and teaching, which can be combined in various ways for accreditation at Certificate, Diploma and Masters levels. In 2004/5, increased resources have been made available to support lecturers in the use of learning technologies, resulting in a significant increase in the volume and quality of web-based learning materials for students.
6.6 2005-06 will see the introduction of the Provost's Awards for teaching and UCL's involvement in two Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning from which good practice in teaching will be disseminated. Academic Committee and its sub-committees will monitor the efficacy with which the provision of training and development activities supports UCL's plans to enhance learning and teaching quality and the professionalisation of teaching at UCL.
6.7 The new HR/Payroll system has a training administration module enabling departmental access and individual self-service. These aspects of its functionality will be rolled out by 2007. As part of the monitoring of the professionalisation of teaching, research and support activities, the HR Division will ensure that mechanisms are in place to record all training activity and learning events (either locally in departments or as part of the corporate training programme) and all qualifications gained, with regular updating.
6.8 In addition to developing staff in post, succession planning and increasing management capacity within the organisation remain high priorities for UCL. As many of the institution's management and leadership roles are fixed term, UCL needs to identify and develop staff with the ability to develop into a range of senior institutional roles at an earlier stage in their career. It is therefore proposed to pursue a Development Centre approach in consultation with the Leadership Foundation in order to identify a cohort of academic staff from across the institution with the talent and aptitude to develop as the leaders and senior managers of the future. The Provost and his Senior Management Team will continue to undertake development activities aimed at consolidating the leadership capabilities of the Team in the context of UCL's strategic objectives. UCL has a Staff Development Strategy that will be reviewed in light of the priorities identified in this strategy.
7 Equality and diversity
7.1 UCL is proud of its longstanding commitment to equality of opportunity and access and this is as important now as when UCL was founded. UCL aims to address equality issues in all aspects of its work and to ensure that every aspect of UCL policy in which there could be a differential impact on under-represented or minority groups is monitored and reviewed. UCL is firmly committed to challenging discrimination in all its forms, promoting equality and celebrating diversity.
7.2 The International Strategy is predicated on the development of internationally relevant research themes and collaborations and the internationalisation of the curriculum that reflects global citizenship. It is critical that UCL continues to recruit a diverse staff group from across the globe with a range of cultural backgrounds and experiences to support its international agenda. The establishment of workforce equality targets in relation to black and minority ethnic academics and senior academic women is likely within the planning period. The Staff Development and Training Unit will work with the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching to support initiatives towards the internationalisation of the curriculum and research agendas and staff will be supported in broadening their understanding of issues of cultural difference.
7.3 In 2003 UCL's Race Equality Policy was published and two Race Equality Review Groups were established; one of which examined the impact of employment and corporate policies on race equality. In 2004-05 UCL undertook its first staff survey to identify the degree to which staff perceived UCL's equality policies had been effectively implemented, whether UCL was a welcoming and inclusive workplace and to determine if there were any differences in perceptions or experiences. On availability of the results, an action plan will be devised to address any is sue s arising. The survey will be repeated in due course to assess whether there have been improvements in staff satisfaction levels and to follow up some aspects of staff perception in relation to the Corporate Communications Strategy and other UCL strategies.
7.4 As a follow-up to UCL's participation in the Athena ASSET survey in 2004, UCL intends to be a founder signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter in 2005. This will confirm UCL's commitment to developing women's careers in science, engineering and technology and enable UCL to benchmark its progress in this area.
7.5 UCL monitors its recruitment activity, workforce profile, training take up, reported harassment complaints and the impact of a range of employment policies by ethnic origin, sex and disability status. Monitoring data are reported to the Human Resources Policy Committee and Committee for Equal Opportunities and are discussed with UCL's trade unions in order to inform policy decision making. Monitoring data are also discussed with departments as part of Equality Action Planning, the process by which each UCL department develops equality initiatives in support of corporate equality goals.
7.6 In 2005 the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 was amended and as the Race Relations Amendment Act did for race equality, it introduces general and specific duties on public bodies to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability and to promote disability equality. UCL will develop and implement a Disability Equality Policy that reflects its commitment to eradicating discrimination in all its forms. It will aim to ensure a culture of disability equality in which disabled staff feel comfortable declaring their disability and support and info rmation for disabled staff is better coordinated and promoted. UCL's Race Relations Policy will also be reviewed in this period.
- Guidance on the new equality regulations regarding religion and belief have been drawn up and circulated to all staff and a Sexual Orientation Working Group set up to advise UCL on is sue s and monitor progress.
- UCL has for many years been committed to avoiding discrimination on the basis of age and when age discrimination legislation comes into force for the first time in December 2006, UCL will review its policies and procedures to ensure that they are compliant. In particular UCL's retirement policy will be reviewed to ensure flexibility for staff to request to work beyond retirement age, balanced with the need to offer career development opportunities to those in early and mid-career and to ensure that the UCL talent pool is regularly refreshed.
8 HR management information and administration
8.1 The introduction of a new integrated HR/Payroll system in autumn 2004 has improved the accuracy of HR management information with a more comprehensive data set now available for workforce monitoring and forecasting. The implementation of a new financial forecasting tool linked to the HR system enables improved financial forecasting using real time data. An HR Information Strategy will be developed in line with the corporate Information Strategy, to guide protocols on the capture, storage and use of HR data for management purposes. The second phase of the HR system implementation will see the HR/Payroll system rolled out for departmental access and use by individuals which will give better access to strategic management information and a tool to manage a range of employment processes.
8.2 The UCL White Paper articulated a commitment to review working processes in order to reduce bureaucracy. As a consequence, business process reviews are ongoing with a view to reducing transaction times and the second phase of the HR/Payroll system implementation should facilitate improved procedural efficiency. Revised procedures will be based on the principles of single data entry at the point of capture; electronic data transfer; proportionality of administration, transparent process trails and verification of personal data by individuals. Once the procedural review is complete it will inform induction and training arrangements for staff based centrally and departmentally to ensure greater corporate consistency. In tandem with procedural review, consideration will be given to how the HR function can be best configured to act most effectively as a strategic business partner at faculty and department level and how communication, consultation and feedback on human resource management and employment issues can be improved.
9 Managing and monitoring performance
9.1 UCL acknowledges that to advance its position as one of the world's most prestigious universities it must manage and monitor all aspects of its performance and where appropriate benchmark performance against its competitors. It is inevitable that in reviewing its performance against external benchmarks UCL will from time to time need to change some aspect of its operation or organisational structure and as a consequence it plans to develop a policy framework for managing change to ensure communication and consultation are effective and that change is managed as effectively as possible. UCL now has a comprehensive employment policy framework in place and plans to consolidate and embed good practice to ensure the well being and fair treatment of all staff.
9.2 UCL is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment that prevents work related ill health and promotes well being. Health surveillance and immunisation protect against or detect work related health problems at an early stage and work related ill health and sickness absence levels are monitored and benchmarked against sector averages. A staff counselling service and employee assistance programme provide emotional and practical support for staff. In 2005, work will commence on the implementation of the Health and Safety Executive's Management Standards for tackling work related stress in order to
- promote a safe and healthy working environment that supports staff in achieving UCL's corporate objectives
- promote recruitment and retention
- encourage staff and managers to develop the skills required to meet the needs of UCL and their own personal development
- promote equal opportunities
- promote supportive working relationships and reduce conflict and
- engage and support staff through change.
9.3 In relation to the performance of staff, UCL has a raft of policies in place to ensure the development and monitoring of performance (induction, probation and staff review) and for dealing with concerns over performance (capability, sickness absence management and discipline). Historically the staff review process (appraisal) focused mainly on developmental outcomes and objective setting was optional. The policy now requires that review of progress against objectives as part of the process, and the Provost's Senior Management Team will monitor the regularity with which the appraisal process takes place and address any areas of concern. The percentage of staff formally appraised will be reported to Council annually as a Key Performance Indicator reflecting effective leadership and management at all levels.
9.4 Many aspects of UCL's employment policies and practices are now regularly monitored to establish their impact and these data inform decision making and policy review. In addition, metrics such as staff turnover, sickness absence, the number of discipline, grievance and Employment Tribunal cases per capita of the workforce are benchmarked with other institutions across the sector as measures of 'organisational health'. Equally some measures of the efficiency of the HR function such as HR staff numbers and cost in comparison to UCL's turnover and workforce size are also benchmarked with other institutions. The services provided to the institution by the HR Division are the subject of service standards which are published on the web and are monitored by HR and service users and kept under review.
10 Risk and impact assessment
10.1 The initiatives outlined in this strategy and the accompanying annex have been developed with the aim of supporting UCL's corporate objectives and responding to legislative change. If the strategy is not implemented there is a risk that either corporate objectives will not be met or UCL will be in breach of employment or equality legislation. There is also the risk that the initiatives outlined in this strategy will not be effective and therefore each element will be monitored (and benchmarked where appropriate) as set out in the annex to this document.
HR Strategy 2005 - 2010: action plan (PDF format)
1. The International Strategy, Learning and Teaching Strategy, Race Equality Policy, Equal Opportunities Policy, Staff Development Strategy, Policy on Disability in Employment, Finance and Estates Strategies, Widening Participation, Information Strategy, Faculty Strategic Plans.