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Heads of Department Update 22 January


I’ve failed in my attempt to avoid sending things on Friday afternoon. Sorry! But I think this is all for information and not for action.

Managing the Impacts of Lockdown on Individual Careers

We’re very conscious that a further period of lockdown is going to exaggerate the disruption of the careers of those with significant childcare/home-schooling responsibilities. And of course that tends to be a particular issue for many female staff (though not exclusively so). You will have seen the guidance about trying to manage this process during the current lockdown and I know this is going to be a real challenge for so many of our colleagues. And if anyone needs advice, please do contact you HR advisers. We do need to think about longer terms impacts and ways in which we might be able to mitigate the career disruption causes by successive lockdowns. I don’t have any answers just yet, but we have started to give this some consideration and we’ll come back to you with thoughts on the ways in which we might do this.

Approval of posts/release of spend

We are looking to try to simplify the process for the approval of posts – and apologies, its proving a bit more complex and taking a bit longer than I had hoped (and yes, I know the irony around trying to simplify being “complex”). But I’m hoping we can resolve soon. We have also been looking at options to release some of the restrictions on non–pay spend but with lockdown and accommodation rebates, we’re just having to hold off a bit longer.

Revised Financial Forecast for the Year End

Finance have produced a top-down gross surplus/deficit forecast taking into account the impact of the current lockdown and what this might mean in terms of the financial impact of students who decided to take TWD, pressure on CCSG and potential accommodation refunds. The original Q1 forecast deficit for the year was £3.6 million. This has been revised and that process has involved a release of some of the provisions we had previously been holding, but sadly they have been replaced with other provisions around accommodation and temporary withdrawals (and we have seen some further adverse movements for CCSG). I can share all of the gory details if anyone is really interested, but for now, the impact is to shift the deficit unfavourably to a deficit of around £10m. Current provisions for accommodation rebates sit at around £14m for Term 2. We are seeing this as a realistic worst case scenario.

ARC Planning Round

Just a reminder – I mentioned last week that we are looking to try to lighten the burden on Departments and we’ve had a number of discussions about what this might entail. We’re expecting to reduce the required paperwork and requests updates only where there are material changes. We will try to meet every Department/planning unit but we’ll keep the meetings short and focused.

Employee Assistance Programme

Just a quick reminder – this is available for any staff member who needs (broadly-defined) well being advice and support (its at ) – and it’s totally confidential!

Have a good weekend everyone!



Professor Christine Ennew OBE