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Heads of Department Message 28 May


We are preparing feedback from the ARC reviews of Departmental plans and we had promised generic guidance on savings. That will still be coming but I thought it might be helpful to share with you the generic messages around savings as you will be asked to do some more work on financial plans in the coming weeks.

Finance will be working with Departments to produce an update of the plan incorporating the impact of the pandemic on income streams and where we will need to capture departmental savings so that plans reflect only essential spend. There will be detailed guidance coming from Finance to relevant colleagues. The following is the generic ARC feedback and your finance contacts will get a slightly more detailed guidance document. Revising the business-as-usual plans to build a CV19 version of yout plan will take place over the course of the four weeks to 26 June:

  • We will look to capture vacant or soon-to-be vacant posts as savings unless these are absolutely business critical (general vacancy savings will be adjusted to 1%). This does not mean that the post disappear, just that they are frozen for 20/21;
  • We will remove any allowance for pay inflation – effectively assuming that there will be no pay settlement this year;
  • Please assume no unitemps/agency spend for administrative cover for 20/21 or 21/22;
  • As previously mentioned sessional teaching spend will need to be adjusted downwards bearing in mind an overall ARC target of at least 50% savings;
  • Regular equipment replacement cycles should be suspended for 20/21, so any spend should be on essential items only.
  • Please assume no physical attendance at external conference or training events in 20/21 unless essential (and please be cautious with any spending plans for virtual events). Recruitment costs in 20/21 should relate only to business critical appointments. Please also assume reduced non-conference related travel;
  • Please assume no expenditure on catering for internal meetings and staff events in 20/21 and 50% reduction in 21/22. Any remaining spend in 20/21 should be justifiable as business critical. (Catering for some student related events would be acceptable)
  • For grants and scholarships, Depts will be asked to detail any remaining uncommitted budgets for 20/21 and 21/22.
  • Although the above should cover this, please can you look carefully at research allowances and limit these only to spend that is absolutely essential.

ARC may have specific requests for you following the review of the current draft Departmental (business as usual) plans and this will be communicated separately. During July there will be a process to review resultant Covid-19 impacted plans and ARC will follow up with you as necessary. This will then provide the basis for initial 20/21 budgets which will be subject to revision in September once the recruitment picture is clearer.

Finally, although many of the areas of spend that we are asking you to reduce may seem negligible in and of themselves, overall they will have a significant target. £50m is a tough target, but we remain convinced that collectively, it’s something that we can deliver and do so in a way that protects and sustains our core activities.




Professor Christine Ennew OBE