A message from Provost Christine Ennew updating on reform of Statute 24 and its related Ordinances
20 February 2017
I’d like to update you on the work being done to reform our governing instruments.
In December, Stuart Croft notified the University Senate and the University community more broadly that a review of our Statutes and Ordinances was starting.
As part of this review, we began consultation with the Trade Unions in December 2016 about changes to Statute 24 and its related Ordinances, and so I’m writing with an update on this.
For those who aren’t familiar with these terms, the Statutes set out the over-riding principles which govern how the University operates. Ordinances are the more detailed rules which guide the implementation of Statutes.
The review has been commissioned by the University Council to simplify and modernise the content of the Statute.
One area highlighted in the review as requiring revision was Statute 24. This sets out how we deal with issues such as grievance, discipline, redundancy, incapacity and appeals for academic staff. A number of areas of concern have emerged, namely that these provisions:
- Apply only to academic staff and therefore do not treat all staff equally
- Are unnecessarily complicated and protracted, often resulting in undue distress and anxiety for staff
- Are adversarial
- Are not compliant with current employment law and best practice guidelines
- Are not easy to change in the face of emerging employment law as any proposed changes must be approved by the Privy Council
To address these issues, we are proposing:
- New, updated policies and procedures relating to disciplinary, redundancy, grievance and removal for incapacity on medical grounds, which will apply equitably to all our employees
- That the underlying principle of academic freedom be retained in Statute
- Retention of the fundamental right for an academic member of staff who appeals against dismissal on the grounds of academic freedom to have their appeal heard by a panel which will include a lay member of Council
- Commitment to the principles of equality and legal compliance to be stated in the revised Statute
Provision relating to the removal of the VC to remain in Statute
And, of course, the University Council will have to approve any of the proposed changes to Statute 24 (prior to seeking Privy Council approval). In addition, the new and more straightforward policies which we would hope to introduce, will themselves be subject to the approval of Council.
Find out more
We have published the revised statutes, ordinances and policies in draft so that you can see the proposed changes. You can find them in the list on the right hand side of this page. We will continue to update these drafts as the review progresses. We have also created a set of FAQs which we hope will help answer any key queries and concerns staff may have.
We have discussed the proposals with the University Council, Heads of Department and our Trade Unions. If you are a member of a Trade Union, you will have the opportunity to contribute to this process through your Unions. But we would like to hear views from all of our staff community.
I hope the draft documents and FAQs will be helpful, so please do look at these for more information on the planned changes. If you do want to make comments, suggestions or propose further questions for our FAQs, please contact our Employee Relations team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope we will be able to present the outcomes of the review for consideration by the University Council in May 2017, and we will update staff at this point. Final approval of the changes will need to be by the Privy Council in summer 2017. Following this, the changes would come into effect from the new academic year.
Christine Ennew, Provost