Town Hall Questions Answered Feb 2024

Is the plan going to address making Campus Services more "family friendly" as this is a barrier at both recruitment & career development due to the roles in Campus Services?

The University has an existing range of family-friendly work practices currently available to staff. As our services continue to evolve, we will consider working patterns alongside the needs of our customers.

Do we, or will we, cover expenses for candidates coming to interviews?

The University currently covers travel expenses for candidates travelling from outside of the West Midlands. In this instance, a claims form can be included in the email interview invitation sent to the candidate. More details on this process can be found in the Recruitment Manager's Toolkit on the HR portal. This particular candidate benefit may be discussed and further developed within the Attracting and recruiting great people workstream led by Caroly Cutbill.

Will we be given time during work hours (outside of our lunch break) to prioritise our wellbeing (e.g., taking an hour out to attend a book club)? 

Staff wellbeing is important – but it’s also important to be fair to colleagues. Managers need to ensure that everyone in their team is given a fair and equal amount of time for lunchbreaks, as applicable. If you want to take advantage of being at University of Birmingham by going to an occasional free concert, art lecture or book club, then speak to your manager. It may be possible to accommodate the occasional hour-long lunch break if the time is made up at the end of the day, for example.

Will actions from the People and Culture plan actually be shared, and not a vague promise?

All actions resulting from the workstreams will be shared with staff as and when they happen. We will strive to communicate as clearly, timely and transparently as possible on all actions that arise from the plan.

How will the plan look for me? Will it just be a document online?

The hope and aim is that the plan will lead to tangible change through a series of actions developed and implemented through the four priority workstreams. Each workstream will be populated with a diverse range of employees across different teams and grades, to ensure a broad variety of input and ideas. More information on how this work will be delivered can be found on pages 32 and 33 of the People and Culture Plan.

Will the workstream meetings be hybrid to help support people working off campus/part time/anti-social hours to attend?

We want staff from every department to be able to feed into these workstreams and recognise that not everybody works on campus 9am-5pm. We propose that wherever possible the workstream meetings will be a balance of in-person and hybrid.

Can we change our pay to get paid in 2 weeks instead of monthly?

There are no plans to change to fortnightly pay.

Can we hear from the workstream leads directly about what single thing they are personally excited about and why they are leading on their areas?

When the People and Culture Group is set up with everyone involved in the four workstreams, you’ll definitely be hearing more from the leads – Tim Owen, Carolyn Cutbill, Sarah Smith and Chris Mellins. We plan to host a “Me in 3” session with our workstream leads so you can hear about their motivations and our action plans. Keep a look out for regular updates about the People and Culture Plan in the Campus Services newsletter.

Will the pay and incentives change for Grade 6 and above. Last year Band 5 earnt more than many Grade 6 due to one off payments and overtime, etc.?

The University is bound by national pay bargaining for Grades 6 – 9 and therefore has limited scope in terms of altering the spinal points on these grades. However, the University has recently reviewed the Grade 6 pay scale and as a result made some positive changes in August 2023, including raising the minimum, threshold and maximum spinal points (and therefore salaries) on this grade. Despite this, we understand a small number of colleagues, in specific departments, still have some remaining concerns. We are currently reviewing the data relating to these specific roles and will be in touch with these colleagues in early March.

Will the Campus Service Awards happen, will it be inclusive to everyone? Will people who work for CS have to work like has always happened in the past?

The Campus Services Awards celebrate all the successes and stars of the year, from every department in the division. We recognise that in the past, some Campus Services staff haven’t been able to celebrate alongside colleagues because they’ve been involved in making the show happen: for example, because they are serving drinks, operating the AV tech, or overseeing the event.

We’re addressing this with plans to hold 2024’s Campus Services Awards celebration at Edgbaston Park Hotel for the first time, with external caterers providing refreshments. We hope that gives Food Fellows and Conferences and Events staff a chance to fully enjoy the event this year. We will listen to feedback and continue to improve how we organise the awards.

Is the leadership development only for people who are already in a supervisor position?

We recognise that not everyone wants to be a leader, and not everyone wants to manage – and that’s absolutely fine. However, everyone should have the opportunity to develop, and these are a regular feature of PDRs. If you aspire to build your skills, learn project management techniques and grow into a leader, the People and Culture Plan will help identify opportunities for you to do so.


Professional Services