Amongst all of the uncertainty, challenge, risk and anxiety, we have some routine processes that we need to continue to work through and the ARC Planning round is one of these.
Before I do that, and to avoid any confusion further on, we were due to be announcing a change in job title for Matt/Penny/Caroline with their new titles being Vice Provost and Chair of Faculty. This change as made to reflect that they are increasingly acting on behalf of me and that their role has greater breadth and depth than was originally envisaged for the Chair of Faculty. The formal announcement will come in due course, but I wanted to mention it now as you’ll probably see me using the shorthand of VP/CoF.
We have been doing some thinking about how best to make the ARC Planning Round work given the current circumstances – and that’s about recognising the pressures and the difficulties that everyone will face working remotely, the practicalities of running meetings and also the massive uncertainty about next year’s income.
What we are proposing is a simplification; a focus on the development of financial plans based on projected income and target margins with selective virtual meetings and/or discussion via email. This will be the initial priority and once complete we can focus more effort on discussing your strategy for the coming 5 years and beyond and also on contingency planning for the rest of this year. Fuller details are in the attached.
You will notice in here that the is a reference to new approvals to appoint and a request not to submit any new approvals without checking first. This reflects a University decision to pause staff recruitment while we concentrate on business continuity. This decision has been taken because of the difficulties of running demonstrably fair and proper processes when we are all offsite, concerns about our ability to attract the best candidates in the current difficult circumstances and a concern about adding to costs given future income uncertainties.
This is not a recruitment freeze; if you have business critical appointments these can still be given approval to proceed subject to a case being made. Formal approval is via UEB. So the key message at the moment is:
- If you have posts that have been approved and are not under offer, then we would ask you to pause recruitment. If you feel that the post is business critical, please can you liaise with your VP/CoF about whether such a case can be made.
- If you have posts that are already in SF, then these will be processed but we would ask that you delay advertising unless the post is business critical (please could you check with me and your VP/CoF on these cases).
- If you have posts that you were planning to submit to SF, please could I ask that you do not submit without checking first. Submissions do generate work and if posts are not business critical then it would be helpful to delay putting them into the approval process. (please could you check with me and your VP/CoF on these cases)
Hopefully all of this makes sense, but if there is anything that isn’t as clear as I’d hoped, please can you let me know?
Professor Christine Ennew OBE